FC Barcelona hired Xavi Hernandez back in 2021 to regain their competitive edge. Having lost their way in major competitions, Barcelona were gradually becoming the underdogs even in their bouts against the usual heavyweights of Spain. However, Xavi has undeniably managed to reverse those declining expectations.
Once a player of elite quality and legendary status, Xavi understands better than most what the importance of winning over heavyweights is. Beyond just systematic points, confidence and momentum begins to shift. As such, it appears that his Barcelona takes little mercy when it comes to facing the top dogs.
As highlighted by Javi Miguel of AS, Xavi’s Barcelona have a strong record against the heavyweights of Spanish football. Apart from only Real Madrid, who have more or less managed to stay toe to toe with Barça, the others have succumbed to the Blaugrana club’s quality rather regularly in La Liga.
Against Los Blancos, Xavi has two victories and two losses in La Liga. During the 2021/22 season, Xavi managed to overcome Real Madrid with a convincing 4-0 scoreline.
Then, in the subsequent 2022/23 season, both Barça (2-1) and Real (3-1) managed to get a victory each in the League. In the latest encounter, Carlo Ancelotti’s side has managed to win 2-1 at the Montjuic Stadium.
Other official fixtures played between the two sides have also been leveled. One victory for Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup (3-1) is met with a loss as well (3-2). Moreover, despite Barcelona winning with a 1-0 scoreline in the Copa Del Ray as well, they were also beaten 4-0.
Apart from Los Blancos, however, Barcelona have thrived against most. Against Atletico Madrid, for instance, Xavi remains invincible. From four encounters, Barcelona have managed to win all four of them.
The first was a 4-2 victory in the 2021/22 season. Then came three more consecutive La Liga victories in 2022/23 and the ongoing 2023/2024 season with a consistent 1-0 scoreline.
Similarly, Barcelona have been unstoppable against Athletic Bilbao as well. Just as they have a perfect four-out-of-four record against Atletico, Barcelona also maintain that perfect record against the Basque club.
Two 4-0 victories in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons are met with another two 1-0 victories in the second half of the 2022/23 season and so far in the 2023/24 season.
Sevilla is another side that has managed to feel the wrath of Barcelona. However, they did initially seem to go toe to toe. In their very first encounter with Xavi’s Barcelona, Sevilla managed a 1-1 draw in the 2021/22 season.
However, following that encounter, Barcelona has four wins out of four. A 1-0 victory the very same season as the draw, followed by two 3-0 victories in the 2022/23 season, and now a 1-0 victory in the ongoing 2023/24 campaign.
Lastly, the final heavyweight highlighted by AS is Valencia. The first victory came in the 2021/22 season with a 4-1 victory. Then, two 1-0 victories were enjoyed by Barcelona in the subsequent 2022/23 season. They are yet to face off this season, with a trip to the Mestalla just two weeks away.
All in all, Xavi’s Barcelona have shown that they can have their mettle tested against the very best. The Catalan giants have yet to show the same level of consistency in the UEFA Champions League, but seem to be on the right track starting off with their domestic achievement.