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"This is not goodbye. This is see you later", said Xavi Hernández on the day of his farewell as an FC Barcelona player. Six and a half years later, at 1.39pm CET on 8 November 2021, Xavi held true to his word as he stepped out onto the Camp Nou pitch to once again greet the fans.
No fewer than 9,422 seats in the stadium were filled, some for up to two hours before the event, to await the return of a club legend, a man who played 17 seasons in the first team, and a man who exemplifies the magical way that Barça likes to play football, and who graced the team that won trophy after trophy in one of its most glorious epochs of all time.
Xavi always knew he’d be back at Barça in some capacity or other. And now he is here. Joined by president Joan Laporta, he has put pen to paper as the new first team coach, and was at Camp Nou today before his family to celebrate this latest development in his illustrious career.
Hard work is the road to success
“I am very excited” he said. "I want to thank the club and everyone here. You have given me goose-bumps. I just want to say one thing. We are the best club in the world and we will work hard to achieve success. We can’t afford to draw or lose. We are Barça and we have to win every game.”
He added that "you don’t know how touched I am. We need you, especially through bad times. We are in a difficult situation as a club, but now we have to think only about what’s good for Barça".
Joan Laporta also spoke, with a clear and direct message: "Today is a day that will go down in club history."
The first open-doors event since the pandemic started ended with a group photo and Xavi going walkaround around the stadium to greet the fans inside the Camp Nou.
That wasn’t the end of the day, though, as Xavi was due immediately after to give an official press conference in the Ricard Maxenchs press room.
Xavi’s return is now a reality. Tomorrow work begins in earnest with the very first training session run by the man on whom so many blaugrana hopes are now pinned. Watch this space!
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