FC Barcelona will certainly have a new tactician next season, as Xavi Hernandez has decided to step down after the 2023-2024 season ends, no matter what the club achieves at the end.
Barcelona should still be fighting for trophies in LaLiga and the Champions League, but, Xavi seemed to follow in Jurgen Klopp’s footsteps and resigned.
Regarding Xavi’s decision to resign, former Barcelona coach and legend Ronald Koeman understands it. According to him, training Barcelona is not good for mental health.
“Being Barca coach is an attack on mental health. Being a Barcelona player is much more fun than being a coach, and Xavi, as a Catalan and son of the club, must have realised that. This is the hardest job I have ever done,” explained Koeman.
“It’s a mental and football problem. Failure makes the team weaker and the players lower their level. The level of football drops because of the mental level.”
“That’s why (I’ve made) my departure announcement. Furthermore, I believe that our work is not valued enough. I decided a long time ago, since the start of the season.”
In fact, since the successes of Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde, other Barcelona coaches have struggled. What are the reasons that make it difficult for coaches to coach Barcelona?
Mes que un club. That’s Barcelona’s slogan, which means: not just a club. Barcelona aren’t just any club, and their club history and DNA is one of their identities.
One of them is Barcelona’s philosophy, which is closely related to Dutch total football, passed down from Rinus Michels, Johann Cruyff, and developed by Frank Rijkaard to Guardiola at Barcelona.
With that, Barcelona seemed to have an ‘obligation’ to play attacking, entertaining and dominant in possession.
The club’s DNA will not always be easily applied by coaches who come to coach Barcelona, especially because each coach has an idea about the style of play he is trying to implement.
Especially after the Guardiola era, famous for the term tiki taka, fans and the public saw Barcelona ‘required’ to play like that. That situation is certainly not easy for coaches who coach Barcelona.
It was different then than it is now. Joan Laporta’s first and second terms as President of Barcelona were different, he also had difficulty balancing the club’s current balance sheet and also with the Financial Fair Play (FFP).
Barcelona is limited in terms of buying players and therefore, the coach will not always have or get the players he wants, especially to apply his football philosophy.
This point is made at all the major clubs in world football. Instant success is a necessity, especially at Barcelona with LaLiga’s relatively unbalanced competition: it’s easy to predict.
Barcelona, along with Real Madrid, are always the favourites to win LaLiga and that puts pressure on the Barcelona coach. Not to mention the fact that a club of Barcelona’s calibre targets a clean sweep of trophies or champions every season.
Also, the comparisons that are always made by the public and the media, comparing past glories and current teams add to the pressure.