FOOTBALL – Xavi´s tenure at Barcelona has begun! He has started as he means to go on and introduced strict measures in a bid to ensure the players are at their top level.
During his presentation to the fans, he said “This is the biggest club in the world, and I am going to work hard to reach your expectations. Barcelona cannot accept a draw or a defeat. We must win all the games. A 1-0 win is not enough.”
One of the best midfielders of all time
41-year-old Xavi was an icon at the club and was said to be one of the best midfielders of all time. He joined Barcelona at the age of 11 and remained there for 24 years.
He had high expectations of himself as a player and now expects nothing less from his team. However, he has a massive job on his hands to turn things around and move up from 9th place in La Liga. Therefore, he has no choice but to hit the ground running.
Plagued with injuries
One of his first moves was to remove both club physios. The team is plagued with injuries now, and therefore, this is a priority. According to Spanish news outlet, as.com, Xavi has already told physio Juanjo Brau and physical trainer Albert Roca they are no longer needed.
The biggest injury problems affecting the squad currently are muscle injuries. This concerns Pedri, Dembele, Sergi Roberto, Nico Gonzalez, Pique, Eric Garcia and Ansu Fati.
Martin Braithwaite is also out for the season due to a knee operation, and stand-in goalkeeper, Neto is ill with flu. Sergino Dest is not match fit due to lower back pain.
According to AS, Xavi has implemented some strict new rules to ensure the players are at the peak of their fitness and 100% committed to the Barcelona shirt!
1 – Players to arrive 90 minutes early for training
Traditionally, Barcelona’s training sessions begin at 11.00 am. However, all players must now arrive an hour and a half early at 9.30 am.
There is a method behind Xavi’s first new rule. This is to enable the squad to adequately prepare for the upcoming session as well as enjoy a quiet breakfast and host one on one chats with members of the coaching staff if required.
2 – Staff must arrive even earlier
Backroom staff has been called upon to set an example. And as such, they are required to arrive two hours before the start of the training session.
Likewise, this is for similar reasons, so the staff is able to conduct any private chats with the team beforehand.
3 – All players must eat at the training ground
All players must now eat in the Ciutat Esportiva’s dining room. This is to keep tabs on their diets in a bid to reduce injuries and increase match fitness.
4 – The return of fines
Xavi´s plans include reintroducing structure. Therefore, players will no longer be allowed to get away with breaking training ground rules as he has opted to impose strict financial fines for any troublemakers.
5 – Fines will be doubled for repeat offenders
The amount each player is fined will double if they commit the same misdemeanour.
6 – No late nights at least 48 hours before a game
Two days before any game for the club, all players must be at home before midnight. Xavi is reportedly incredibly strict on this rule in particular.
7 – Players must give it their all
A 1-0 WIN IS NOT ENOUGH!
Xavi is expecting each player to turn up to training each day aiming to give every session maximum effort. The Barca boss is of the mindset that his stars must train with the same passion as they play.
8 – Off-pitch habits will be monitored
Coaching staff will be keeping a watchful eye on how players choose to use their free time. And if it is deemed inappropriate, they will be warned before further action is taken.
9 – Players will be banned from ‘risky’ activities
None of the Barca players will be allowed to engage in hobbies that are thought to be a potential safety hazard by the club. Consequently, electric bikes and surfing are just two of the activities no longer permitted by Xavi’s regime.
10 – Image is everything
Everyone associated with the club from backroom staff to players will be expected to conduct themselves professionally when in the public eye.
Given Barcelona’s status as one of the biggest clubs in the world, the last thing Xavi needs is any controversy.
These measures may seem strict and a little “old school”, but similar are in force in many clubs. Xavi and his team cannot afford to make mistakes at this stage.