Xavi battles to keep his emotions in check as the new Barcelona boss is presented to 10,000 adoring fans at the Nou Camp before vowing to restore the ‘best club in the world’ to its former glory by winning ‘many titles’
- Xavi was presented to Barcelona fans as the club’s new manager for the first time
- He addressed the 10,000 supporters inside the Nou Camp welcoming him home
- Club legend vowed to have incredibly high standards and never accept losing
- He ceremonially signed his contract on the pitch and looked emotional
Xavi was officially presented to 10,000 adoring Barcelona fans at the Nou Camp on Monday afternoon and vowed to restore the club to its former glory.
Fans waited with baited breath before the iconic former midfielder emerged from the tunnel into the sunshine on the pitch with president Joan Laporta.
They waved their flags in unison and for a moment it seemed as though the 41-year-old was genuinely taken aback by the outpouring of support.
Xavi was presented to supporters for the first time since taking over as Barcelona manager
There were thousands inside the Nou Camp to welcome Xavi home and he was taken aback
‘I don’t want to get too emotional,’ he told them. ‘So I can just tell you one thing – we are the best club in the world. And we will work with the highest standards to have success. We cannot accept defeats or draws, we have to win every game.’
‘We are going to work to try and win many titles, thank you very much, this is an emotional moment for me.
‘We need you. Especially during the bad moments. We are in a difficult situation as a club. We need you more than ever.’
Xavi then proceeded to sign a contract on a table that had been set up on the turf while his family and friends watched on a few metres away.
He then posed for pictures while holding up a Barcelona shirt with his name on the back.
Xavi and Laporta spoke to the crowd and lapped up their acclaim with the manager’s wife Nuria Cunillera beside him
Xavi then ceremoniously signed his contract on a table brought onto the pitch
Xavi embraced Laporta and evidently the pair have a strong relationship, although no doubt that could be tested in the coming months as they club try to rebuild.
Laporta then spoke to the crowd, saying: ‘Welcome Xavi and your family, welcome back home, this is a special moment for everyone.’
His words were almost drowned out by the noise created by the estimated 10,000 fans, who were serenading their new boss.
The manager has joined on a two-and-a-half-year deal after he paid half of the £4.3million release clause to his former side Al Sadd.
Xavi was hired last week to replace Ronald Koeman, who failed to ignite the season amid one of the club’s worst-ever crises on and off the field. The new man takes over with the club in ninth place in the Spanish league and second in their Champions League group.
Xavi posed with a shirt for photos and appeared to be amazed at the warm reception
He returns to a club mired in financial difficulties and finds a squad depleted by injuries and struggling with young players and untested new signings.
Ansu Fati and Eric Garcia are the latest players to be added to the club’s injury list, joining Sergio Aguero and Gerard Pique among others.
Xavi faces a tough schedule, with his first match in charge being the league derby against Espanyol on November 20 at the Nou Camp. The club next host Benfica in a match that could decide their fate in the Champions League, a competition in which they haven’t failed to advance past the group stage in nearly two decades.
Xavi will lead the squad in training for the first time on Tuesday, though most of the team’s top players will be on international duty.
Barcelona had been coached by interim manager Sergi Barjuan, who is now back with the club’s ‘B’ squad. In the three matches under his command, the team drew 1-1 with Alaves, won 1-0 at Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League and drew 3-3 at Celta Vigo on Saturday after squandering a three-goal lead.
Xavi was welcomed home in fine style but has an almighty task ahead of him