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7 players Xavi has improved at Barcelona

Xavi Hernandez has brought about a remarkable transformation at Barcelona, improving many key players along the way. When he returned to the club as coach in November 2021, the team was struggling in mid-table and their chances of qualifying for the top four were uncertain. However, under Xavi’s leadership, the team improved, ultimately finishing in second place, and has continued to excel in his first full season as coach, currently sitting at the top of the table. While the addition of big-name players like Robert Lewandowski and Jules Kounde have helped, Xavi’s coaching skills are evident in the progress of several inherited players. Seven notable players who have improved under Xavi’s guidance include Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Eric Garcia, Alejandro Balde, Ronald Araujo, Frenkie de Jong, Miralem Pjanic and Ousmane Dembele.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen,

Goalkeeper for Barcelona, has returned to form after a decline in the last few years. He is now considered one of the best and most important players for the team, having kept 13 clean sheets in 17 appearances. Xavi, the coach, has praised Ter Stegen for his leadership and ability in one-on-one situations.

Eric Garcia

A center-back, was brought back to Barcelona from Manchester in 2021, but struggled in his debut season and has not convinced in his early international appearances for Spain. However, he has proven to be a competent squad player, playing the most minutes for the team this season and contributing to the team’s defensive record of only 6 goals conceded in 17 outings.

Alejandro Balde

Teenage left-back, has broken through under Xavi and is now considered a first-team player, displacing veteran Jordi Alba and summer signing Marcos Alonso. He has also earned a call-up to the Spanish national team.

Ronald Araujo

Uruguayan center-back, has developed into one of the finest in Europe under Xavi, who has worked on improving his ability to play out from the back. He was rewarded with a new contract in 2026 and is considered a key player in Xavi’s project for the team.

Frenkie de Jong

Barca’s midfielder had a slow start to the 2022-23 campaign but has grown into a key role under Xavi, and is currently enjoying his best season yet.

 Gavi

La Masia graduate has enjoyed a rapid rise during Xavi’s time as manager, but it’s difficult to know how much credit to give the coach for his development as he made his debut before Xavi’s arrival.

Ousmane Dembele

During Xavi’s first season as coach, Dembele’s form was a standout. Despite some ups and downs throughout the campaign, the French winger was able to consistently showcase his world-class abilities. This was a significant improvement from his previous struggles at Barcelona, where he struggled to live up to his high transfer fee.

 

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