Final season "ruined" by PSG UCL defeat - how good a manager has Xavi been at Barcelona? (2024)

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Final season "ruined" by PSG UCL defeat - how good a manager has Xavi been at Barcelona? (1)

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Barcelona’sseason came to a dramatic conclusion on Tuesday night, as a chaotic 4-1 defeat toParis Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of theChampions League scuppered any hopes ofXavi and his side challenging for serious silverware between now and May. Despite taking an early lead through Raphinha, the Spanish giants were reduced to 10 men afterRonald Araujo picked up a red card midway through the first half. After that, Barcelona imploded against the attacking might of PSG. But their manager certainly had no interest in blaming his own team for the result.


Final season "ruined" by PSG UCL defeat - how good a manager has Xavi been at Barcelona? (2)

Xavi Age: 44

Final season "ruined" by PSG UCL defeat - how good a manager has Xavi been at Barcelona? (3)

FC Barcelona

Season 23/24 -
Primera División

"The referee was really bad. I told him his performance was a disaster. I don't like to talk about referees, but it had a clear impact in the season and it has to be said," Xavi told Movistar Plus after the match. "We are very upset and angry because the red card was the decisive factor in the match. With 11, we were in a good position, playing well and in command. It's too much to flash a red card in a game like this. There was another game after that... It is a pity that the work of the season was ruined by an unnecessary expulsion."

Whether Xavi’s fans and critics can agree on who to blame for the result, there will likely be a large consensus around the Barcelona manager concluding that the defeat to PSG has more or less “ruined” the club’s season. After defeat in theSpanish Cup back in January and an eight-point gap between themselves and first-placedReal Madrid in LaLiga, it seems unlikely that Xavi will finish the season with any silverware before his announced departure from the club. But how well has the former midfielder done as manager of his cherished club and what conclusions can be drawn from his three years at the Camp Nou?

Final season "ruined" by PSG UCL defeat - how good a manager has Xavi been at Barcelona? (4)

What is Xavi's record as Barcelona manager?

Following Tuesday’s European defeat, Xabi has now managed Barcelona in 135 games across all competitions and has an average points per game record of 2.06. And when we compare that to his predecessors in the role it offers some interesting results. For example, when we compare the 44-year-old tactician to every manager sincePep Guardiola - whilst excluding interim appointments like Jordi Roura and Sergi Barjuan - we find that Xavi currently has the second worst return of all seven coaches. However, if there is a positive way to spin such numbers, it would seem important to note that Xavi has at least improved on his immediate predecessor, Ronald Koeman, who sits bottom of the list with just 1.96 points per game.

Indeed, contextualising Xavi’s spell at the club with the modern realities that face Barcelona are perhaps a more accurate way of figuring out how well the young manager has done in his first major role in European football. For example, the Catalan giants are under far greater financial restrictions than they were during Guardiola’s reign at the club or the riches his successors enjoyed in the years to follow. This is best illustrated by considering the club’s net spend on transfer fees under each manager. WhereErnest Valverde was handed €285.9 million worth of players in transfer fees andLuis Enrique’s bill came to €188.5m in the transfer window, the club’s net spend on players during Xavi’s time at Camp Nou stands at a rather paltry €53.3m.

Villa, Lewandowski & Neymar - Barcelona's record signings

15. Vitor Roque | 24/25 for €40m from Palmeiras



14. David Villa | 10/11 for €40m from FC Valencia



13. Malcom | 18/19 for €41m from Bordeaux



12. Robert Lewandowski | 22/23 for €45m from Bayern Munich



11. Jules Koundé | 22/23 for €50m from Sevilla



10. Ferran Torres | 21/22 for €55m from Manchester City



9. Raphinha | 22/23 for €58m from Leeds Utd



8. Miralem Pjanic | 20/21 for €60m from Juventus



7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic | 09/10 for €69.5 from Inter



6. Luis Suárez | 14/15 for €81.7m from Liverpool



5. Frenkie de Jong | 19/20 for €86m from Amsterdam



4. Neymar | 13/14 for €88m from Santos



3. Antoine Griezmann | 19/20 for €120m from Atlético



2. Philippe Coutinho | 17/18 for €135m from Liverpool



1. Ousmane Dembélé | 17/18 for €135m from Dortmund



As such, it seems unfair to compare Xavi to the managers that had come before him at Barcelona and in the years to come the young tactician may be seen as the ideal coach for this period in the club’s history. The Camp Nou club are nowhere near the peak of their powers, but for Xavi to have won one LaLiga title and come so close to a Champions League semi-final does suggest that he has done just about all that he can with the squad and financial limitations that he has been handed. Whether the man to replace him next season can improve on that remains to be seen.

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Final season "ruined" by PSG UCL defeat - how good a manager has Xavi been at Barcelona? (2024)
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