Barcelona vs. Benfica: How Will Xavi Look To Stop The Spanish Giants’ Decline?

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Discipline. Rules. Order. Sacrifice.

These are perhaps not the words you expect to hear from new Barcelona coach Xavi when he returns to his former playing club with the goal of recovering lost glory.

You’d assume that Xavi, as one of the best creative ball-players the world has ever seen, would arrive with promises of free-flowing, thrilling, attacking football.

The most concerning aspect of the surrender is that it was neither unexpected nor unexpected. It was just the latest in a string of heavy defeats in the Champions League for Barcelona since 2017: 0-4 and 1-4 against PSG, 0-3 against Juventus twice, 0-3 against Roma, 0-4 against Liverpool, 2-8 and 0-3 against Bayern.

The most difficult task facing Xavi is to make his team physically competitive. And he understands that off-the-pitch discipline precedes on-the-pitch discipline, which has been sorely missing in a player-centric dressing room in recent years.

Determining how heavily Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and Gerard Pique should feature in the new administration is an important element of that process. The trio, all former Xavi teammates, are in their late thirties, and according to reports, the new manager believes they can only play one game each week at the requisite physical level.

They all started in Xavi’s first game, a scrappy 1-0 win against Espanyol on Saturday, and they may start again on Tuesday due to the importance of the game, but their spots are far from certain in the medium term as Xavi aims to construct a more mobile and dynamic team.

Source: Daily Mail

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