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Xavi takes over Barcelona ahead of derby, live on StarTimes

As a player Xavi won just about everything with Barcelona that there is to win in club football: The La Liga title, the Champions League and the Club World Cup. 

And the former midfielder, who ended his playing career in Qatar after playing close to 800 matches in his 17 seasons with Barcelona, continued winning trophies once he stepped into coaching. 

He took over the reins at Qatari club Al Sadd in 2019 after finally hanging up his boots and went on to win seven trophies in the three years that he was in charge. 

It is thus not surprising that when Barcelona officials decided to end their relationship with Dutch coach Ronald Koeman, they turned to the Barça legend. 

And after some tough negotiations with Al Sadd, Barcelona got their man and he straight away said that he wanted to bring back the winning mentality. 

“We understand the game as a positional game, we can’t change our system. We want to press high, we want to recover the ball in our opponent’s half, we want to be an intense team, we want to create chances. 

“I am not discovering anything, that’s Barca’s DNA. An intense team, trying to give our all on the field and we are Barca and we have to try to win every single game,” he told media. 

It is now up to Xavi to turn things around for the club and fans are hoping he can start on Saturday with the Derbi Barceloni.  

Under normal circumstances, Barcelona should go into the match in the Camp Nou as the overwhelming favourite, but then very little about this season is ‘normal’ for the Catalan giants, who are ninth in La Liga with 17 points. 

Their city rivals Espanyol are two places behind their big neighbours, but also have 17 points – albeit from a match more. 

One of the main reasons why the newly promoted Periquitos have done so well is the form of Raúl de Tomás, whose seven goals have helped the club reach their points-tally. 

The striker was rewarded with a first call-up into the Spanish national team and started both World Cup qualifying matches against Greece and Sweden that saw La Roja qualify for next years’ finals in Qatar. 

And de Tomás was not the only Espanyol player involved in World Cup action, as midfielder Lei Wu scored for China in their 1-1 draw against Australia that keeps Chinese slim hopes of making it to Qatar alive. 

Barcelona, of course, have a whole array of international stars who were on duty this past week as Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Gavi were involved with Spain, while Frenkie De Jong and Memphis Depay helped the Dutch make it to Qatar. 

Phillippe Coutinho and Clément Lenglet were in the Brazilian and French squad respectively, as they too, qualified for the World Cup finals. 

With so many stars involved on Saturday, it is not surprising that the Derbi Barceloni is a ‘must-see’ game this weekend and luckily for African football fans they can do just that if they tune in to the StarTimes channels as the continent’s leading digital-TV operator show all the best action from La Liga – live and in HD.

By: | StarTimes |Ghana

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