Politics

Barca unveils Xavi as new manager in front of thousands at Camp Nou

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BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona presented Xavi Hernandez as their new head coach in front of thousands of fans at the Camp Nou on Monday.

The 41-year-old Barca great signed his contract, which runs until 2024, on the pitch alongside club president Joan Laporta.

“It’s a historical day for Barcelona. Welcome, Xavi,” an emotional Laporta told the supporters during the ceremony where the ex-midfielder was accompanied by his family.

“Thank you all. I don’t want to get emotional but I am, I feel goosebumps,” Xavi told the fans.

“This is the biggest club in the world and I’m going to work hard to reach your expectations. Barcelona can’t accept a draw or a defeat. We have to win all the games.”

Xavi joined after Barca paid his release clause with Qatari club Al-Sadd. He will replace the sacked Ronald Koeman.

“I come prepared. My DNA didn’t change. We need to take charge, have the ball, create opportunities, be intense. We have a mission to rescue many things that were lost,” Xavi said.

Struggling Barca are ninth in LaLiga, 11 points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad and 10 behind arch-rivals Real Madrid.

After the presentation, Xavi talked about how discipline will be a major factor in his project as Barcelona manager.

“We have to start with new rules that are going to be strict. It’s not a matter of being tough, it’s about having norms,” he told reporters.

“When we had norms in the locker room, things were good; when we didn’t, it went bad. So, we need to have order. Being professionals.

“It’s a medium to long-term project but we’ll need to work really hard to find the results. The expectation and the demand will be the highest. No excuses will be made or accepted.” — Reuters