Xavi is set to become the new Barcelona manager once the contract formalities are completed. The former Barcelona midfielder is currently managing Al-Sadd and has developed a strong style of play. His model is derived from the way Barcelona are used to play, with a 4-3-3 system.
The Spaniard is a firm believer in maintaining possession while playing. “My teams have to do damage through possession of the ball,” Xavi recently told The Coaches’ Voice.
“Having the ball is the way to defend yourself.”
His team enjoys the majority of possession in most of their games. This is something he will be looking to incorporate in his version of Barca as well. He also deploys wingers very high and wide on the pitch, and follows the traditional role of this position. Ansu Fati, Yusuf Demir and Ousmane Dembele can benefit from this style of play.
He also implements a high pressure system whenever the team loses the ball. This ties into the idea of having possession as much as possible. When the players lose the ball, they press the opposition high to retrieve it as quickly as possible.
Xavi also wants to implement a clear style of positional play, and wants to play the ball out from the back.
“When you bring the ball out, the third man is impossible to defend,” said Xavi.
“Imagine [Gerard] Pique want to play the ball to me, but I am marked. I have someone marking me, a very annoying guy.
“It’s clear that Pique can’t pass it to me, that is obvious, therefore I move away and I bring my marker with me. Then [Lionel] Messi drops in and become the second man.
“Pique is the first, Messi the second and I am the third. And that is how it goes continuously. Playing out from the back like that always creates superiority.”
Xavi has an outstanding understanding of the game, and has all the tools to be a very successful manager. His current spell at Al-Sadd proves that he has a clear direction and idea about how his team should play. Carrying this over to a team like Barcelona will be the big challenge when he is appointed officially.