Xavi stays: a Barça without direction consolidates the biggest crisis in its history

Laporta cried at the press conference in which the coach's continuity was made public  
El entrenador español del Barcelona, Xavi, gesticula durante el partido de fútbol del Grupo H de la UEFA Champions League entre el Royal Antwerp FC y el FC Barcelona en el Bosuilstadion de Amberes, el 13 de diciembre de 2023 - PHOTO/AFP/JOHN THYS
Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi gestures during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Royal Antwerp FC and FC Barcelona at the Bosuilstadion in Antwerp on 13 December 2023 - PHOTO/AFP/JOHN THYS

Nothing that has happened at Barça since 13 January 2020 is normal. On that day, Josep Bartomeu sacked Ernesto Valverde on the flight back from Saudi Arabia where Barça were playing in the Spanish Super Cup and were defeated by Atlético de Madrid. It was not because of that, rather the comebacks against Roma and Liverpool in the Champions League were the levers that pulled the Basque coach off the boat.   

Those games were to be replayed by a Culé the last two seasons without a doubt. Because losing in the group stage of the Champions League and, again, in the Europa League has meant an unprecedented sporting crisis. The same as the Negreira case that uncovered payments for almost 20 years to the former vice-president of the Spanish referees.  

Bartomeu left Barça and Joan Laporta entered. A president installed in the banners in the Castellana, the economic levers, the verbiage and the hugs to a mannequin dressed as Messi promising the continuity of the Argentinian. Laporta is not the president Barça needs, but he is the one the fans need so that nothing that happens affects them. A club with no assets, which has sold its future for 50 years and which puts itself in the hands of a stadium, can't just turn to the referee's lament to justify its defeats.   

El presidente del club FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta - AP/JOAN MONFORT
FC Barcelona club president Joan Laporta - AP/JOAN MONFORT

Xavi was not the coach they needed either, but he was the face the fans wanted to see. Laporta and Xavi were the perfect duo. Two well-known guys who gave the club security, even if it was bleeding to death inside. If Barça is not out of the Champions League because of the Negreira case or in the second division because of its economic excesses, it is because of who it was years ago, because of its name and because the Spanish league would be a ruin that only the locomotive of Real Madrid could pull.   

Xavi left in February and stays in April. That is what the word of this club and those who form part of it is worth. People with Barça DNA who have nowhere to go. Laporta cannot sign a coach because there is no money and Xavi has buried his image as a coach and hardly has a future in Europe with that sad and whiny presence after every game if things don't go well. Outside Barça, the sun, the grass and the time have no place in a serious club. The only thing that counts is winning and if you don't win "there will be consequences" as Laporta said. The message was nice, but he knew that the Camp Nou could not pass sentence and that in exile nobody is going to complain about anything because it is enough for them to reach the magic mountain every fortnight.  

The summer remains. While Real Madrid assess the signing of Mbappé and decide what to do with other stars, Barça will try to ensure that their signings are not mid-profile domestic players as happened with Oriol Romeu. Laporta has promised to sign freely, Xavi has bought into it and it remains for Javier Tebas to decide whether to open his hand and let the other locomotive of La Liga strengthen or stifle them and further devalue the competition.   

El entrenador español del Barcelona Xavi habla con el delantero polaco del Barcelona Robert Lewandowski durante el partido de fútbol de la Liga española entre el Real Madrid CF y el FC Barcelona en el estadio Santiago Bernabéu de Madrid el 21 de abril de 2024 – PHOTO/JAVIER SORIANO/AFP
Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi talks to Barcelona's Polish striker Robert Lewandowski during the Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on April 21, 2024 - PHOTO/JAVIER SORIANO/AFP

Laporta wept at Xavi's decision to stay. The crocodile tears of the azulgrana president also please the soçi who follow attentively the farce to which they have subjected their club and swallow the childish arguments they put forward for not being to blame for anything.  

There is nothing that can change Barça. The members are anaesthetised, the president believes their lies and Xavi is the perfect coach no matter what he does because he makes the noise behind closed doors. This club has never been so lost.