Before appearing in the press room, a place to –in theory– talk about football and the next match for the FC Barcelona men's first team, Xavi Hernández reflected, raised awareness and prepared himself to answer questions related to the embarrassing Rubiales case and the kiss without consent that he gave Jenni Hermoso during the celebration of the Women's World Cup. A scene that has caused an unprecedented political, media, international and football uproar. And not without consequences. The Barcelona coach, who has always defended that occupying the Barça bench is much more complicated than it seems, sat down, breathed and without further ado tried to be as forceful as possible.
"I want to say one thing," he started as soon as he sat down before the carousel of questions from the press began. “All my unconditional support to Jenni Hermoso and the players for what they are experiencing. I want to condemn the conduct of the president of the RFEF, which seems unacceptable to me. Lastly, I want to express my feeling of pity and sadness because due to this intolerable conduct, the World Cup and what they have achieved are not being talked about. It is a historical landmark. I hope I have been clear and forceful on this issue,” he noted.
Asked if the immediate dismissal of Luis Rubiales as president of the RFEF was necessary and because of the decision that FIFA has taken to disqualify the highest institutional representative of Spanish football, Xavi responded with "I do not go into these issues." He believes that his role as a coach should not go any further. “I think I have been clear. I have given my opinion and I have positioned myself with the players. Those who know me know that I am an honest and sincere person who always rows, adds up and seeks consensus, ”he declared, gesturing with his hands with the naturalness that characterizes him and the seriousness that the moment required.
He also tried to distance himself in his own way from the club's statement, classified by many Barcelona fans as lukewarm by not demanding the immediate dismissal of Rubiales. “The statement is a club issue. I have been clear in my duties as a coach, ”he clarified. "And I think we all have to position ourselves for them and I have said so," he stressed. The good relationship that Xavi has with the FC Barcelona players is well known. Aitana Bonmatí, to whom she wrote the prologue to her book, Alexia Putellas and many more are an example. He admires them as people and also for the game they display. Wanting to claim them, the coach took a breath.
And it started again.
“The pity is that we do not talk about the fact that they are world champions but about a behavior that I have already said is unacceptable. We are going to talk about how it has cost them. About the barriers they have overcome to win the World Cup. We are going to try to unite. I hope that it is solved as soon as possible", he declared before solving with "everyone is free to express what they want", when they asked him if men's soccer should be more forceful as the players have been. like Borja Iglesias, who has given up going to the national team until there is a change or even Sergi Roberto, who supported Alexia's tweet and her “It's over”. A phrase that is already the motto of this new revolution of the players.
But there was more. There is League. Barcelona travels to Vila-real with Xavi fulfilling his second sanctioned match. The technician had another message prepared. “Beyond the arbitration controversies, I would like to listen to the referees since we open everything up. We open the locker room and the coaches are heard during the hydration break. Let people see what happens. I would like to see what happens because they whistle what they see ”, he pointed out.
Barça will face Villarreal led by Quique Setién at the Estadio de la Cerámica. A rival who, unlike Getafe and Cádiz, likes to pamper the ball with a similar style to Barca. “It will be an even match. Villarreal is a technically very good team. You have to press. The game goes through having the ball, which is what they are looking for too. This will be the key”, pointed out Xavi.
The coach will not have Pedri, injured in the anterior rectus of his right leg. “It is similar to last year. We will see his feelings to mark his return. He is a player who takes care of himself, he has done an extraordinary job to gain muscle mass, but there are many variables: the games, the heat, etc. What we try to do is prevent injuries and try not to happen again. But he is part of the game and the sport in general, ”he noted.
Nor will Ronald Araújo be there. And, in the absence of a right back, Koundé could return to occupy that position that does not quite satisfy him. A question that coach and player already dealt with last year. The player must be where he is needed. Koundé is a natural leader”, indicated Xavi.
Barcelona is in the final stretch of the transfer market that ends on October 1. Xavi is still waiting for the arrival of Joao Cancelo, who remains in Lisbon waiting for the deal to close. “It depends on the economic fair play. We will see. Economically we are in the situation that we are unfortunately. We are open to the market. The idea and the sports management know exactly what they need," said the coach.
Barcelona this morning managed to register Marcos Alonso after the renewal of Ter Stegen until 2028 with a salary adjustment. Iñaki Peña, the goalkeeper, is missing. And the recently signed but still injured Iñigo Martínez.