New Barcelona boss Xavi has wasted no time in stamping his authority at the club, implementing a list of 10 strict new rules in a bid to return the Catalans to the top of the table.
The club legend has replaced Ronald Koeman at the helm, and will be under no illusions about the size of the task ahead of him, with Barca languishing down in ninth in the LaLiga table.
In a bid to get the Nou Camp giants back to the top, Xavi has reportedly put forward a list of ‘ten commandments’ this week, as revealed by AS, which the players will have to follow with no exceptions.
New Barcelona boss Xavi has put together a list of 10 commandments to revamp Barcelona
He is making his players arrive at training an hour and a half before the session begins
XAVI’S TEN COMMANDMENTS
1) Players must arrive an hour and a half early for training
2) Staff must arrive two hours early for training
3) Players must eat lunch at the training ground
4) Fines are back
5) Fines get worse for repeat offenders
6) Arrive home before midnight when a game is less than 48 hours away
7) Train well to be in the team
8) Control over non-football commitments – or risk supervision from a member of the coaching staff
9) No more high-risk activities
10) Portray a positive image at all times
The 41-year-old is used to winning titles with Barcelona and is bringing back some of the methods used while he was a player, beginning with the squad’s arrival time for training.
Under Koeman, the players only had to arrive for training around half an hour before the session, but Xavi is now insisting that the squad be at the facilities 90 minutes before they head out to the pitches – while staff must arrive two hours before.
Previously it was also at the players’ discretion whether they ate lunch at the training ground or went home immediately after the session to eat – but now Xavi is insistent that all players eat together at the Cuitat Esportiva.
Diet is hugely important to Xavi and he believes that by eating the right things, his squad can prevent injuries and improve their physical preparations for matches.
Fourth on his list of 10 commandments is the return of fines, something the players have not been subjected to since the exit of Luis Enrique.
What’s more, the fines will increase exponentially for repeat offenders – if you are late to training once, you will pay just 100 euros, but it doubles every time, meaning players could incur huge penalties if they are consistently breaking the rules.
Xavi’s players will also have to limit their non-footballing activities, with number six on the list detailing another ‘non-negotiable requirement’.
Stars have been told that when there are less than 48 hours until a game, they must not arrive home later than midnight, to ensure that they arrive for kick-off in the best possible condition.
Players – like Martin Braithwaite (pictured) – have been banned from riding electric bikes
They have also been told to limit their non-footballing activities in a bid to improve results
They have also been asked to exert ‘control over extra-sports activities’, and have been threatened with the punishment of being escorted by a member of the coaching staff if any non-footballing activity begins to impact their performance.
After coming into force this week, club legend Gerard Pique has already cancelled a planned TV interview in a bid to ‘focus on football’.
Some ‘risky’ activities have also been banned completely, with players told they are now not allowed to surf or ride electric bikes, for fear of injury.
If any player is found guilty of that, it will be passed straight to the club’s legal department and is considered a ‘flagrant breach of contract’.
The final two rules on Xavi’s ‘ten commandments’ are about ‘image’ and ‘meritocracy’.
Xavi is introduced to 10,000 Barcelona fans at the Nou Camp after being appointed manager
The Spaniard was incredibly successful during his time as a player, winning eight LaLiga titles
Gerard Pique this week cancelled a planned TV interview in reaction to Xavi’s list of 10 commandments
The former tells the players they must set a good example, always showing empathy with fans complying with the rules of conduct, while the final rule is that the squad must train as though it were a match.
‘Only those who train the best and have the most commitment at work will have options to be starters [on a matchday],’ the rules state – with the threat of being dropped from the squad entirely a very real possibility under the new boss.
Xavi will hope his new rules can help stop the rot at Barcelona, with the team stuck in mid-table and also struggling in the Champions League.
As a player, the Spaniard won eight LaLiga titles and a remarkable four Champions Leagues, but the level has dropped considerably since his exit in 2015.
Since then, he has been playing – and then managing – Al Sadd in Qatar, leaving last week to return to his boyhood club.