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Joan Laporta smiles. Xavi Hernández smiles. And Barça smiles. After months of despair and little to get excited about, the dreams have returned to Camp Nou. A total of 9,422 fans welcomed the new FC Barcelona coach, who in addition to the injection of enthusiasm has begun to apply a new way of working.

Xavi wants Barça to return to excellence

Xavi has insistently repeated both on the pitch and in the press room that "I am full of enthusiasm and very eager" to return to Barça. A feeling that he has shown with his contented attitude in his first hours as the new coach of the Catalan club. He leapt out on to the turf at the Barça stadium amid a standing ovation, and while out on the field he signed his contract in what was a unique moment.

President Laporta even said that "Xavi's return as coach makes a mark in the club's history". And the coach from the Catalan city of Terrassa knows that the bar is high, calling for "passion, ambition and for everyone to row in the same direction". He also conveyed "positivism, exigency and excellence in everything."

Hernández pointed out that "a team must be created" in this project​, which he considers to be "medium-long term". The goal must be shared, involving each and every one of the players, in order to “return to excellence”.

Presentación Xavi Hernández en el Camp Nou, Joan Laporta - Efe

Joan Laporta and Xavi Hernández in an embrace / EFE

"Order and rules"

Xavi, with very clear ideas, pointed out that there will be "effort, sacrifice and attitude". And he added that "order and rules will have to be followed". And one last forceful note, he explained from his own experience: "When I had rules in the locker room, we did well; and when we didn't have any, we did badly."

But that was not all, and Xavi believes that the key to success will be that "we have to be more professional than ever". Also, veterans like Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Marc-André Ter Stegen and Sergi Roberto, former teammates of his as a player and who are now team captains: "We have to be demanding on the players, we have to try to lead the dressing room and they are very important."

Xavi also wanted to avoid favouritism, asserting that "everyone starts from scratch". But he made a special mention for Ousmane Dembélé: "Dembélé in his position, if we put the work in, could be the best footballer in the world."

"It's a success that compares me to Guardiola"

Looking to the (near) future, he gave the modern football coach's classic 'match to match' perspective: "We are already thinking about the Espanyol match. We will prepare it to win. And then the next, and then the other". What is clear is that "we can't fail the fans", as Barça, apart from winning, have to play well. Barça plays RCD Espanyol in Xavi's debut on the bench at Camp Nou, on November 20th, when the League restarts after its current breal for international games.    

Regarding the football that his Barça will play, he explains that "I arrive with a very clear idea". His experience at Al-Sadd is key to understanding the model he will apply: "We want to play position, we don't want to speculate, pressuring high-up, aggressive, intense and generating goal opportunities. I want an intense team that leaves everything on the field".

And as well as all this, he acknowledged that one of the aspects to be improved is the situation of the team's medical services. "We are worried and things must be put in order. We will try to make all the players available as many days as possible. There is work to do," he said.

Presentación Xavi Hernández en el Camp Nou, Joan Laporta - Efe

Joan Laporta and Xavi Hernández holding a Barça shirt / EFE 

Finally, he acknowledged that "it is a success that people compare me to Guardiola", asserting that he is "a reference point for me and the best coach in the world". And Joan Laporta, who accompanied Xavi to the press room together with Rafa Yuste and Mateu Alemany, did not want to say anything on the subject of the release clause for the signing of the man from Terrassa, mentioning issues of "confidentiality".


Main image: Xavi Hernández during the presentation at the Camp Nou / EFE