Xavi talks Barcelona, summer plans, rotations ahead of Almeria clash

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Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi attends a training session with teammates on the eve of the UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg football match between Napoli and Barcelona at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium on February 20, 2024.
Photo by CARLO HERMANN/AFP via Getty Images

The upcoming game against Almeria will give Barcelona a great opportunity in the league. Xavi’s men could look to get a win and then gain a solid lead over third-place Girona, solidifying their own position much better in second place. However, ahead of the game, the Barcelona coach took part in a press conference.

During this public conference, the Barcelona manager was questioned by various journalists about topics that are quite important to Barça’s future and how the club hopes and looks to go about them given their well-documented issues both on and off the field.

Highlighted by SPORT, Xavi was originally asked about how well he thinks Barcelona can reinforce themselves in the summer transfer window, and how effective they hope to be next season. To this, the former Barcelona player replied:

“We will explain it when we have the full picture of the squad. First, we need to plan, strengthen, and, if we can reinforce ourselves, see where we are, and next year we’ll talk.”

However, the Barcelona manager made sure to let it be known that his immediate priority is the upcoming clash against Almeria:

“Right now, we’re not thinking about it, we have a match and we have to meet the minimum objective because it means a lot for the club: for prestige, for economic reasons, and for playing for another title.”

Yet, he could not steer himself away for too long before he eventually had to talk about the hopes that Barcelona takes with themselves into the market:

“The goal is to change, bring in new people. This is the objective, to improve. If not, we stay the same. The things we haven’t done well need to be changed.”

Still, there is little clarity for the coach in terms of how Barcelona can exactly go about doing that due to the club’s financial situation:

“We still don’t know what we will be able to do; we need to see the whole picture of how the economic situation and Fair Play are. From there, we will decide, but now is not the time to comment on this; right now, I can’t contribute anything.”

“The president is always positive, and so is Deco, but the economic situation will determine the sports planning, as you all know.”

Believed to now be falling behind to the likes of Real Madrid and other European giants, Xavi contested against this and made it clear that the team will look to compete again in the coming years but their situation must be understood as well:

“We will try to compete against this in the coming years, but Barcelona fans must understand that the situation is very difficult, very complicated. Not just to compete with Madrid, but also in Europe.”

Comparing this current Barcelona situation to that of the old days, when the club had enough financial muscle to hypothetically bring in any player from across the globe, Xavi tried to paint a more complete picture of what exactly has changed and what needs to happen:

“This situation is not at all like it was 25 years ago. Before, the coach would come in and say we need this player and that player, and they would be signed. We are not in the same conditions as other clubs, which have advantageous Fair Play situations.”

“The Barcelona fan must understand this, I understand it. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to compete and fight, but that is the situation at Barça. We need time and stability. We will try and do things to compete.”

All hope still is not lost, however, as Xavi believes that his Barcelona team competed a lot better last season, and that is something that needs to re-emerge within this squad:

“Last year, we were very solid without playing the kind of football we would have liked; this year, we have played better, but we have competed worse. We need to keep improving, especially in our play, but also in how we compete. We did it last year.”

Finally, speaking about his potential team selection for the game against Almeria, the Barcelona coach mentioned that rotations should not come as a surprise. With Ronald Araujo in discomfort and Ilkay Gundogan suspended, other tired legs will also need to be replaced:

“I don’t know if there will be one rotation per line, but we have players who didn’t participate against Real Sociedad, and we need fresh legs.”

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