Emmanuel Petit on Xavi Hernandez exit and Barcelona problems: ‘99% of people have no memory’

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has remained adamant that he is leaving the club at the end of the season in order to take a sabbatical, after what will be two and a half years in the job. That is despite consistent efforts from the club to persuade him to remain. Former teammate of Xavi, Emmanuel Petit, has explained to Football España that he is not the problem.

One of the key themes at Barcelona since Xavi arrived in the job has been the style of play. Last season on their way to La Liga, Barcelona were a long way from impressive, but they were solid, meanwhile this season they moved to a more offensive style, with worse results.

“In Spain, when you play for Madrid or Barcelona, winning is not the most important thing. It is the way you win. When you play anywhere else, they simply want to win but at Real Madrid or Barcelona, they want to win every single game and every single trophy, but they want to play well.”

“You see when they take out the white handkerchiefs and wave them about shouting ‘fuera’ [off] when things are not going well on the pitch, when they do not recognise the DNA of their team on the pitch. That’s why it’s so difficult to play for these clubs. A lot of clubs, top European clubs as well, they don’t care, they just want to win, that’s it.”

Another of Xavi’s key complaints has been that he feels he has not been shown the respect or appreciation that he has been due throughout his spell at Barcelona. During the press conference he announced his departure in, he cited it as one of the reasons for his exit, alongside the crippling pressure of being in the job.

It was put to Petit that perhaps Xavi could do with the some of the same hard skin that characterises his opponent in the Champions League, Luis Enrique.

“It’s a pity, because he won the league last year. One of the best players in the history of the club. It’s a pity… 99% of people in this f***ing world don’t have memories.”

In his view, Xavi was a long way from being the biggest problem at Barcelona.

“Every problem that Barcelona has, it is not on the pitch, it is off the pitch, the financial position they are in, for years now. But they won La Liga, they qualified int the Champions League, I don’t know if they will La Liga this year because they are eight points off Real Madrid, but if you think what it is to win La Liga, and they will still qualify for the Champions League. You never know what will happen until the end of the season.”

“But no doubt, if Xavi is leaving the club because he does not believe he is getting the respect he should get, then he is leaving for the wrong reason. He doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, he was such an amazing player, when he came back they won La Liga right away, and if he is leaving because he hasn’t been valued, he should no better than that.”

For Petit, Xavi should have been wise to the pitfalls of management at a big club like Barcelona. Ultimately, his exit would be further evidence of the main issue at the club though.

“You have pressure as a player, but it is not the same and he should know better than that. As manager, you are the only one, there is no-one beside you. He knows that. Every single game they will try to kill you, he knows that, when he took the decision to become a manager, he knew that he would receive more pressure, that even if they win La Liga, or the Champions League, they will forget it two weeks later.”

“I think he should stay at the club. Every two years they change manager. (Hands fly up in theatrical exasperation) Stability you know, this is something that is missing at Barcelona. People are thinking about new players, I think they need to think about improving their financial situation, that’s the root of all their issues. Their problem is not on the bench, it’s in the office. That’s what they need to sort out first.”

Vice-President Rafael Yuste, Sporting Director Deco and President Joan Laporta have all at least left the door open for Xavi to change his mind, while Yuste has admitted that he will try to change his mind. As things stand, those three will be heavily involved in finding his successor – but have not been making much progress with what Petit has called their biggest problem.


This interview was conducted with Genting Casino

Tags Barcelona Emmanuel Petit Joan Laporta Xavi Hernandez
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