November 17, 2021
Dominant at home with Al Sadd, the new Barcelona coach also improved players but fell short in the Asian Champions League
Xavi won trophies galore as manager in Qatar but did he really succeed? | John Duerden
Xavi Hernández’s time as head coach of Al Sadd in Qatar can be described as utter dominance and entertainment at home coupled with disappointment abroad. At the moment, Barcelona would probably take that. This has been a marriage arranged for some time, with the Spanish club waiting for their former player, who is on record as saying that he was looking for experience before making the big move back home. On Saturday he will be in charge of the club for the first time.
Whether 30 months in Doha is adequate preparation for Barcelona is debatable given the differences: the leagues, the clubs, the countries, the owners, the fans, the media, the pressure – pretty much everything. Even in the middle of a genuine title race, Qatar offers a relatively laidback Football environment. Coaches can come and go quickly but this owes more to the whims of owners rather than any overwhelming groundswell of discontent from media or fans.
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