Xavi Hernandez is admired by many Barcelona fans as one of the club’s greatest midfielders.

But he’s now embarking on a new challenge as the manager of the Catalan club.

It’s been a tough few seasons both on and off the pitch for the Blaugrana, with the side failing to meet expectations under former manager Ronald Koeman.

Choosing to sack the Dutchman after just 14 months in charge, they turned to their roots and hired Xavi as their head coach at the start of the 2021/22 season.

And it was a very popular appointment amongst the Barcelona faithful, with the ex-player being someone who clearly understands the values and ethos of the club.

The 41-year-old, who joined La Masia when he was 11 years old, went on to make 767 appearances for Barcelona, winning 25 major honours which includes an impressive eight league titles and four Champions League trophies.

It’s safe to say he was a fantastic player back in the day but will now embark on a new chapter in his footballing journey, hoping to guide his team back to winning ways.

Throughout his career, the midfielder was known as the ‘Puppet Master’ for his insane ability to control matches with his composure, creativity and elite knowledge of the game.


And Xavi has now given us an insight into what goes on in his footballing brain, explaining in a coaching masterclass video how he evolved tactically as a player, how Barcelona’s famous third man concept works and how managers like Pep Guardiola have used that system to their advantage.

The eye-opening footage, posted by The Coaches’ Voice, also shows Xavi also admitting that he would have never been the same player without the influence of former coaches like Inaki Saez, Frank Rijkaard and Guardiola pushing him higher up the pitch to play in an attacking midfielders position.

Xavi started his professional career as a holding midfielder and while he initially felt comfortable playing in the number six role, it was his transition towards the penalty area that defined his career.

“Many people say “Xavi exploded in 2005/06,” the Spaniard said in the masterclass.

“No, I was the same player, but it’s totally different playing in one position than in another.

“I felt more decisive, more influential. I was closer to the box, and in the end, that is what people see. My football career is much more valued.

“Obviously, it was a good decision By Saez, Rijkaard, and later by Guardiola. It was something that I myself didn’t believe in because I felt comfortable and I believed that my potential was to play as a number six or a number four.

“Then my football changed completely, and I later became a more influential and a decisive player for the team and, in short, more attractive to the fans.”

During the clip, the Spaniard also goes into detail about how Guardiola used to set up his teams with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique all combining to overcome advancing players using the third man concept.

Any budding football coach or attacking midfielder should check it out if they’re hoping to play fast, fluid, attacking football like Barcelona sides of the naughties…

While Xavi has played under some of the greatest managers in the world, it’s fair to say he’ll have picked up a few coaching strategies during his career that he can implement in his new role to help Barcelona return to winning ways.

The Blaugrana now sit fourth in La Liga and while they have been steadily rekindling some good form in the league, notably defeating Atletico Madrid 4-2 on Sunday, they still have some way to go to catch Real Madrid and Sevilla at the top of the table.


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