It does not come alone. Xavi is brought to the Camp Nou to most of the coaching staff that he already had in Qatar, where they spent two and a half years working. The new coach arrives with two assistants (Òscar, his brother, and Alegre), a physical trainer, three analysts and a physical recuperator (Carlos Rodríguez Nogueira).
No new coach has arrived to replace Ronald Koeman. A full team has arrived. Xavi Hernandez has taken the reins of Barça accompanied by seven more technicians. The one I already had in the Al Sadd, where its members have tested the operation of their method and have been filmed for larger companies. How it is to manage this Barça and assuming all the plots. The doctor will still be missing, in which Xavi would like recover doctor Ricard Pruna, practicing in the United Arab Emirates, and thus combat the plague of injuries that plagues the team.
Xavi entered Sant Joan Despí with the same group that he put together in 2019. The hard core is from Terrassa, the hometown of most of them, where their relationships were woven, strengthened by the years until they appeared at the Camp Nou for a major challenge.
Òscar Hernández. More than a second
In that group, the second coach deserves blind trust. For being the closest and for being his brother. Xavi and Òscar share a common life in the Hernández Creus family environment and lived a parallel football career –one in Primera, and the other between Segunda B and Tercera– which has converged on the bench of Al Sadd and will continue in the club of his life. Òscar has lived Barça from the stands. At the age of 15, he traveled to Wembley as a fan and to almost all the finals played by the Barça club since then, with the subsequent added incentive of Xavi’s participation.
Òscar was also a midfielder and started in Terrassa, but he drew a lower level career with the Egarense team. He continued in Tàrrega and Balaguer during his stay in Lleida to study INEF, Mataró and Gavà. In Tàrrega he had as coach Joaquim Hernandez, the father of both, in his last team before saying goodbye to the benches.
That very different, more prosaic sports career, with other types of coaches (from Jaume Creixell to Joan Vilà), teammates and goals has provided Òscar (45 years old) with perfectly applicable knowledge and experiences at Barça, surely of a more human nature. He went through the misfortune, like Xavi, of breaking the cruciate ligaments in his knee. With the INEF degree obtained, and retired, he founded the company Players Sport i Gestió dedicated to organizing sporting events, and supervises the family’s business activities. An organizer in private life, as he was already on the field of play and he is on the bench.
He went to Qatar to work in the Aspire Academy as head of the department of evolution (improvement) of the selected Qataris when his brother signed for Al Sadd after leaving Barça. During his stay he flew to Barcelona to take the three federative courses required to obtain a coach’s license and to be Xavi’s assistant.
“It is a treasure to have a person like Òscar by the side, “confesses the boss, who has delegated the responsibility of the defensive organization to his older brother.
Sergio Alegre. An anonymous ascension
“Joaquim Hernández, Xavi’s father, called me to train Alevín C, my first team as a coach.” This is how Barça’s new third coach reminded this newspaper of his long and unknown path before arriving at the Camp Nou. It was 1995.
Then, he went to grassroots football for Barça before returning to his hometown to coach Juvenil A, exploring the job of analyst at Olot including a stint at Jabac de Terrassa before directing Rubí, already in First Preferred. Then, Félix Sánchez (2016) called him to join the technical team of the Qatar Under-23 team. And from there to the absolute. Later, he received a call from Joaquim’s son to join him in Al Sadd.
Prats, García and Lobo. Analysts
David Prats, Toni Lobo and Sergio García are friends and former teammates of Xavi in the lower categories of Barça. They all played on various teams, but without ever losing connection. The cattle, for example, were coaches of Sant Gabriel de Barcelona. They prepared as technicians knowing that Xavi would one day be a coach.
They traveled to Qatar for a week as a test bed to see if they would work in such a different country and were hired to lead the U21 and U23 teams. At Al Sadd they analyzed rivals, supervised training sessions and designed strategy actions, a task that they will keep in Sant Joan Despí.
Ivan Torres. The trusted ‘prepa’
Natural of Terrace, Xavi’s childhood friend, with whom he played in the Vallesano team, was a nomadic footballer (from Manresa to Ávila, from Tomelloso to Villarrubia) and a scout coach (Bahrain Olympic team, AEK Lamarca and Apoel from Cyprus, Leeds United and Al Sadd).
His work takes on special relevance at Barça to tackle the muscle injury crisis. The poor physical preparation designed in Koeman’s stage since the preseason is one of the reasons, perhaps the main one, that has generated an unusual number of casualties that has conditioned the past and threatens the future. Xavi was up to date and wants to strengthen the team.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.