Playing under a club legend who understands the philosophy will help these individuals in elevating their performance to the next level.

FC Barcelona announced Xavi as their new manager in November 2021. The Spaniard replaced Ronald Koeman after a challenging start to the season for the La Liga giants. A long-time servant at the club as a player, Xavi established himself as a FC Barcelona legend back in his playing days. He has come to his boyhood club as manager from Qatari club Al Sadd, where he was in charge since 2019.

Xavi was central to Barcelona’s dominance in the late 2000s and early 2010s. He came through the academy ranks and went on to win 25 trophies in 17 seasons with the Blaugrana. Back at the club, but in a different role, Xavi is now tasked with guiding FC Barcelona through a financial crisis off the pitch and inconsistency on it. The squad is in a transitional phase as the club is still coming to terms with Lionel Messi’s departure.

Xavi’s arrival will certainly act as a boon for several figures at the club. There are plenty of players who will gain incredible knowledge and evolve into better versions of themselves by working under the legendary midfielder, who is now their boss. Looking at the current squad under Xavi’s disposal, here are five players who can shine under Xavi at FC Barcelona.

5. Gavi

Gavi is the youngest player in FC Barcelona’s squad at the moment. The 17-year-old midfielder was promoted from the U19 set-up and has already played extensively in multiple competitions. Gavi has featured in all five of Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League matches and has made 13 appearances in La Liga. Furthermore, Gavi has already made his debut and played five matches for the Spanish national team.

For a teenager, this is remarkable. However, he needs to stay focused and that is where Xavi will be key. Like Gavi, Xavi was also a La Masia product and understands the challenges the youngster will face in his career. Xavi’s guidance will certainly help Gavi in developing at a steady pace.

4. Nico Gonzalez

Nico Gonzalez is another figure, similar to Gavi, who was promoted to the senior team ahead of the start of the current campaign. The 19-year-old defensive midfielder is one of the key players who will help Barcelona usher in a new era. Nico is termed as a long-term replacement for club legend Sergio Busquets. Although dropping such expectations on Gonzalez is unfair, but that seems to be what the future holds for the young gifted footballer.

Another graduate of the La Masia, Nico will learn invaluable insights into the game. Xavi was a deep-lying playmaker back in the day and this is a role Nico could develop in his repertoire. He has already made 12 appearances in La Liga and three in the UCL. Xavi’s expertise in midfield play will allow Nico to blossom into a reliable player.

3. Frenkie De Jong

Frenkie De Jong remains FC Barcelona’s key player heading into the new era. Fans are of the opinion that De Jong will lead the club through the transitional phase. The central-midfielder is extremely accommodating and can play multiple roles in the midfield. Xavi’s arrival means that De Jong will learn many tricks of the trade, further elevating his status as a player.

The tactician has reiterated in recent times that Frenkie De Jong is a major part of the club and will play a big role in its rebuild. Xavi’s trust in the player will help him lead the midfield and develop too in the process. De Jong can act as a catalyst through which Xavi can implement his tactics on the football pitch.

2. Ansu Fati

Ansu Fati may be dealing with injuries at the moment, but he remains one of the most promising youngsters in world football. The Spaniard is regarded as the future star of the club on whose back the outfit can walk into a new era. Fati is also a La Masia product and will have dreamed to work under someone like Xavi, who comes from a similar background.

Xavi worked with several players, who were also La Masia graduates like him during his playing days. In order to utilise Fati and keep his head focused, Xavi will play a key role. Xavi will need to better the winger’s already exceptional qualities and not let him get fazed by comparisons to Messi.

1. Pedri

Pedri was the breakout star last year and played an extensive number of football matches, for both club and country. The Spaniard won the 2021 Golden Boy Award for his incredible performances at all levels. The La Masia product is capable of playing multiple roles and has the similar qualities of playing sublime possession-based football, which is the club’s tradition.

Fans compare Pedri to Andres Iniesta or Xavi himself which is daunting for the youngster. Having said that, the 19-year-old has a raw talent that needs nurturing. And who is better to oversee Pedri’s development than Xavi himself. His arrival will add more aspects to Pedri’s gameplay. 

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