Opinion: Xavi's painful truth likely to cost him his job-Xinhua

Opinion: Xavi's painful truth likely to cost him his job

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-21 19:02:00

MADRID, May 21 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez currently sits on the brink of losing his job as the club sinks ever-deeper into an atmosphere of chaos, as some struggle to come to terms with the club's economic reality.

Xavi is clear about the situation of a club that has deep debts and which has also taken out huge loans to pay for the vast remodeling of the Camp Nou Stadium.

Speaking ahead of Barca's visit to Almeria a week ago, Xavi highlighted that financial fair play rules in Spain have limited his club's spending to a salary cap of 204 million euros (222 million U.S. dollars) a year. This is 99 million lower than Atletico Madrid's 303 million euro limit and over three and a half times less than Real Madrid, who can spend over 727 million euros.

"The situation is difficult, it is very complicated, especially to compete with the biggest rivals, such as Real Madrid in Spain or Europe," said Xavi ahead of the Almeria game.

Financial fair play limitations also mean that it is almost impossible for Barcelona to strengthen their squad effectively for next season. The way things stand, Barca have to bring in four euros in sales or savings for every one euro they are allowed to spend.

"We have an economic situation that is nothing like 25 years ago, when a coach could come here and say, 'I want him and him and him'. It's not like that now," explained the coach.

The club are working so that this can be changed to a one-to-one basis, but even that would mean every new arrival would have to be paid for by a departure, and any further loans the club takes out would only serve to further increase the financial pressure.

"We aren't in the same situations as teams that have a better 'fair play' or economic situation as us. Fans have to understand this. I understand it and I have spoken to [club president] Joan Laporta and [sporting director] Deco," continued Xavi.

He could have added that the situation also causes uncertainty in the dressing room as high-earning players, especially those whose sale would bring in much-needed cash, start to wonder what the future holds.

Brazilian winger Raphinha - one of Barca's better players this season - is likely to be sold as he has admirers in the Premier League, Frenkie de Jong is also clearly a saleable asset, while the wages of Inigo Martinez and Robert Lewandowski mean the club wouldn't be unhappy to see them leave.

Even central defender Ronald Araujo - a player who looked set to be vital for many years in the heart of the Barcelona defense - could be on the market, and it looks as if the doubts over his future haven't helped the Uruguayan's form in the run into the end of the season.

Meanwhile, the club continues to leak stories about possible signings for the summer, such as Athletic Bilbao's Nico Williams. This is despite the fact that Williams decided to sign a new contract with a release clause of 55 million euros in November 2023, rather than hold on and move to Barcelona for free this summer.

It's pie in the sky and Xavi knows it, which is probably one reason he has given chances to youngsters such as Fermin Lopez and the excellent Pau Cubarsi and Lamine Yamal, with others such as Hector Font likely to step forward next season.

However, Laporta returned to the club after the economic chaos of Josep Maria Bartomeu promising to bring back economic stability and the glory days on the pitch.

Deco is meant to oversee the construction of another 'dream team' and they continue to sell this to the supporters and the press. Xavi is the spoke in the wheel: he is the voice saying "It isn't like that. Our spending cap is less than a third of Real Madrid's and only 60 percent that of Atletico Madrid."

That bucket of cold water that he has tossed over the dreamers should snap everyone into reality. But of course, no club - especially Barcelona - can accept that they can't compete with the best.

Laporta can't accept it for his credibility, Deco can't accept it for his job security and the club can't accept it because how do you sell tickets, shirt and TV rights for an entity that admits it is second best?

Xavi and Laporta had a brief talk after Saturday's 3-0 win over Rayo Vallecano and they will sit down again at the end of the season, but everything points to Xavi being sacked.

And that is another blow to the credibility of a club that less than a month ago was celebrating when Xavi said he had decided to see out the final year of his contract.

So we will see a U-turn, a month after another U-turn, which means we are back to where we started - meanwhile, Real Madrid are preparing to announce the arrival of Kylian Mbappe.