Barcelona forward Memphis Depay has said he is ‘excited’ to work under incoming head coach and club legend Xavi, who returns to Camp Nou to take his first managerial gig in European football.
Xavi won it all multiple times over during his glittering player career, which spanned 17 years in the Barcelona first-team. He racked up 25 trophies, made 767 appearances and established himself as one of the greatest midfielders of all time.
Upon leaving Barcelona in 2015 after winning the fourth of his Champions League titles, Xavi continued his playing career with Al Sadd in Qatar, before taking over as manager there in 2019.
Xavi led Al Sadd to the Qatar Stars League title last season, having earlier won domestic cups.
He is now considered the man by Barcelona to save them after a disastrous start to the season, which saw previous boss Ronald Koeman sacked last month. Xavi’s former Barça teammate Sergi Barjuan has been in temporary charge since.
Memphis is one of the players who will be expected to thrive under the new boss and the Netherlands international is looking forward to it.
“[Xavi] has a lot of experience in top football and I think he will bring that experience into the team,” Memphis explained to club media following Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Celta Vigo.
“I don’t know him personally, of course I know him as a football player. But I’m excited to work with him. I think he can lift our spirits and we have to lift our spirits together, also the players – and speak about things and have conversations to have more results in the games.”
Barcelona had raced into a 3-0 lead against Celta, with Memphis scoring the third goal with little more than half an hour played. But a second half collapse under sustained pressure saw Celta fight back – even having the ball in the net five times in the second 45 minutes and claiming for a penalty.
Xavi will also have to contend with an injury crisis once he starts work. Ansu Fati, Eric Garcia and Nico all withdrew from the match in Vigo with injury concerns, adding to an extensive list of absent players that already includes Gerard Pique, Pedri, Ousmane Dembele, Sergio Aguero and others.