Xavi thinks ahead after the 0-1 win over Espanyol in the premiere (“there will be a war”), but will have to make do without Avda and Ilias in the Champions League. De Thomas: “The penalty is a joke”
Xavi stood with a smile from ear to ear and looked happy in person. It was the summer of 2017 and the legendary Catalan who has already won the World Cup, Euros, Champions League, Spanish Championship, Copa del Rey and a host of titles, added to this list also the lottery of Doha, who put into his bank account a million Qatari real – about 225 thousand euros. “It was an unexpected but welcome surprise,” said Xavi, then still an al-Sad player.
Later on, the former midfielder also became the team’s coach, two weeks ago he was appointed Barcelona coach and last night (Saturday) he was probably the luckiest – since that draw. The Catalans beat Espanyol 0-1 in their debut with a great first half, but weakened later. The city rival often missed and twice met the goal frame of Marc Andre Ter Stegen. Lucky for beginners? time will tell.
“Premiere with a win,” the Catalan newspaper Sport reported, “Xavi’s handprint was felt in a team that played a very good first half.” “Mundo Deportivo” wrote: “He made his debut with a hard-fought derby victory over Espanyol that was good and did not give up.”
Xavi himself said at the end: “Why can we not compete for the championship? We have experience with coming back from a big lag in the league. We have the right attitude, effort and values that make me optimistic.” On the meeting with Benfica in the Champions League, where Barça have to win so as not to get involved in the battle for the last eight, the coach said: “This is another war, this is a final and we must not stumble.”