Mikel Arteta explains why Barcelona 'needed' to appoint Xavi as manager

Xavi was appointed Barcelona head coach back in November 2021 and has helped turn the club back around, winning La Liga in 2022/23. Arsenal boss and former teammate Mikel Arteta has praised his influence.

Arteta has great respect for Xavi
Arteta has great respect for Xavi / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images, Angel Martinez/Getty Images
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has praised Barcelona for appointing Xavi as their head coach back in November 2021.

La Blaugrana parted ways with then-manager Ronald Koeman while sitting mid-table in La Liga. A top-four finish looked unlikely and they were on the verge of elimination from their Champions League group.

Xavi returned to Camp Nou from Qatari side Al Sadd and managed to steer Barça to an unlikely second-place finish in La Liga. They went one better in 2022/23, winning their first league title since 2019.

In a wide-ranging interview with MARCA, Arteta - who came through La Masia with Xavi - said that bringing in a figure like the former midfielder was important for Barcelona to reach the top again, hailing his side as 'very reliable'.


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"Only knowing his character and what he feels about the game, it's clear that Barça needed a figure like him," Arteta said.

"He has been able to withstand the pressure and has been faithful to his ideas by always defending the club and the players. The team has been very reliable all year."

When asked if he would consider managing in La Liga himself, Arteta replied: "Spain is my country. I have been away for many years and at some point it could be an option to return to La Liga and have other experiences. But now..."

Arteta also spoke glowingly of former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, who he worked under as an assistant at Manchester City and is now a rival of in the Premier League.

"He is the best at everything. Management; convincing the group of your idea; getting the best out of them; decision-making before and during the match. Pep is a genius," Arteta continued.


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