Xavi is on the verge of becoming Barcelona’s new head coach after the Catalan club sacked Ronald Koeman on Wednesday.
Koeman was dismissed following Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat away to Rayo Vallecano.
That defeat left Barça ninth in La Liga after 10 fixtures - a disastrous start to the 2021-22 campaign for one of Europe’s proudest football clubs.
Various Spanish outlets, including Marca, are reporting that Xavi is the man Barça have chosen to replace Koeman.
The 41-year-old has been with Qatari side Al Sadd since 2019 but has made no secret of his desire to coach Barcelona one day.
His opportunity has now arrived - probably quicker than he even expected - and his return will please most of the Camp Nou faithful.
One of Barcelona’s greatest ever players, Xavi was instrumental during the club’s most successful period, winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues among a host of major honours.
Two of those Champions Leagues were won during Pep Guardiola’s unforgettable four-year spell in charge.
Both finals were against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, with the second final (2010-11) taking place at Wembley.
Barça were magnificent that night and thoroughly deserved their 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa.
“In my time as a manager, I would say they're the best team we've faced,” Ferguson told reporters after the match, per The Guardian. “No one has given us a hiding like that.”
What Rooney said to Xavi during the 2011 UCL final
Wayne Rooney was on the scoresheet for United but the Englishman was pleading for the final whistle during the last 10 minutes of the match.
In Andres Iniesta’s 2016 book, ‘The Artist’, Xavi revealed his in-game chat with United’s centre-forward.
“Rooney came up to me before the end of the game,” Xavi said.
“It must have been around the eighty-minute mark, something like that.
“And he said to me: ‘That’s enough. You’ve won. You can stop playing the ball around now.’”
Barcelona ended the final with 777 completed passes, compared to United’s tally of 357.
Will Xavi follow in Guardiola's footsteps?
Unlike Guardiola, Xavi won’t have the luxury of a squad full of world-class stars at his disposal when he begins work at Camp Nou.
But Barcelona are appointing a hugely talented young coach who shares the same Johan Cruyff-based football philosophy as Guardiola, who will surely always be available for advice if Xavi feels he needs it.
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