Xavi’s position as the Barcelona manager depends on the result against Napoli in the UCL.
The situation at Barcelona can be considered critical in every sense. The draw against Granada has only confirmed the foretold demise. The much-anticipated reaction following Xavi’s delayed resignation announcement barely lasted a week: this weekend’s stumble has laid bare all the team’s woes. So much so that currently, according to Javier Miguel of AS, nobody at the club can guarantee that the Catalan coach will remain until the end of the season.
All eyes are now on the Champions League tie against Napoli in a week’s time. The outcome of this match could shape Xavi’s short-term future. A defeat could prompt the immediate departure of the current coach, with Rafa Márquez as a possible candidate to take charge for the remainder of the season.
President Joan Laporta, who continues to support Xavi within the club, is beginning to show clear signs of frustration with the project, as seen in the Montjuïc box this Sunday, tossing the canapé tray into the air after practically torpedoing the team’s chances of catching up in LaLiga. His advisors and trusted confidants have long been urging him to make a decision regarding the coach, as the first step in seeking a response to a season in which some still see the Champions League as the lifeline.
The sporting director, Deco, also appears to have turned his back on Xavi, especially after his recent statements to a Portuguese media outlet, subsequently denied and/or clarified, regarding the current model of FC Barcelona being exhausted.
Javier Miguel also mentions how Xavi is the first to be very clear that if they don’t progress in the Champions League tie, he won’t continue. The coach has always made it very clear that he will never be a problem for the club, so if he sees that the best solution is to bring forward his departure, he will do so without any problem. But right now, the coach is not in that situation. He still believes he can resurrect this ‘dead’ team.
Obviously, the goal in LaLiga is to catch up with Girona and at least finish second, thereby guaranteeing not only the Supercopa but also participation in the Champions League, while in the continental competition, the aim is to compete to the fullest, with the minimum requirement being to reach the quarterfinals.
What is certain is that whatever happens this Saturday in Vigo, Xavi will continue. It will be Napoli who ultimately decides. A defeat at the San Paolo would bring forward the end of Xavi’s project by a few months.