Xavi is currently in Qatar, in charge of Al-Sadd. He’s earned plaudits for his work with the club since taking over in 2019.
He’s developed an attractive style of football and led them to the Qatar Stars League title, two Qatar Cups, one Qatari Super Cup, one Emir of Qatar Cup and one Qatari Stars Cup.
During the masterclass, the 40-year-old revealed some of the key pillars of his coaching philosophy.
His team needs to control the game, he says, and work to find the free man and attain numerical superiority. When out of possession, of key importance is implementing a high press and ensuring focus is trained on winning second balls.
Above all, however, is the need for his players to enjoy having the ball, because that’s the key to success. He speaks coherently, intelligently and with an air of authority – qualities that underline why many want him to be the next coach of Barcelona.
“It’s clear to me that my team has to have the ball,” he says. “I suffer when I don’t have it.
“It happened to me when I was a footballer and now even more now that I’m on the bench. That’s why I do everything I can to control the game through the ball, through possession.
“What interests me as a coach? To play as much as possible in the opponents’ half. If they press us high, the most important thing is to break the midfield line, go into the opposition’s half, and attack.
“I found a team in Al-Sadd, in which I was playing, where our goal was somehow to go from a medium block to a low block, to get the ball back and then play in transition.
“We had to change the philosophy of the team a little bit so that the players would understand that the ball is not a bomb, that the ball is a treasure, and that is the most important thing for us.
“In the end, having the ball is like an addiction. I experienced it myself as a midfielder.
“Now, I try to impress upon my players that the most important, the most beautiful and the most precious thing in football is to have the ball and to attack and dominate the game with the ball.”