In spite of Barcelona’s dismal performance in the UEFA Champions League, the club’s president, Joan Laporta, had recently stood behind coach Xavi Hernandez. However, this Sunday, the Blaugrana suffered another loss, this time to all-time rivals, Real Madrid, leaving the Spaniard’s future up in the air.
Many in the football community were surprised and even scorned by Barcelona’s massive off-season spending on the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde and others. With a debt of almost €1.3 billion, the club used various financial levers to go on a spending spree and sign plenty of A-list players before their rivals could.
To the joy of coach Xavi Hernandez, president Joan Laporta complied with his demands for new players. However, in Spain’s La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, Barca failed to do so on the pitch.
After a 3-3 draw with Inter in the UCL, which all but ensured the Blaugrana would not move out of the group stage for the second year in a row, the club is currently dealing with a new problem. They failed to get the better of arch-rivals Real Madrid this Sunday, losing 3-1 away in the first El Clasico of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.
What now for Xavi Hernandez and Barcelona?
These past few days, there have been rumblings of dissatisfaction with Xavi’s work for the first time throughout his managerial stay. Prior to the El Clasico derby, the Catalans lead the Whites in La Liga by a slim margin of goal differential.
Barcelona were aware of the fact that a Sunday defeat will be the last straw, opening up even more questions about their transfer window shopping spree than the Inter draw has raised. However, maintaining victory would have silenced naysayers and shown the world that they can move on.
When questioned about Xavi’s future before Barcelona’s away match, president Joan Laporta was asked whether the outcome would have any effect on the coach’s contract: “There is total confidence in Xavi. He is a great coach and he will surely go on and give us great success in the future.
“He knows the club perfectly, he knows how we play and he is ideal for Barca. He has our support and he knows it, and it’s important that he knows there is this trust so that things go well,” he told Barca TV on Friday. However, the 3-1 derby loss may turn out to be a devastating setback for the former iconic midfielder at what is perhaps their weakest stretch under Laporta’s second spell.