Deco, the Sporting Director of FC Barcelona, is faced with the tough decision of choosing the successor to Xavi as the team’s head coach. Recently, Xavi announced his intention to step down at the season’s end, catching Deco by surprise. In an interview with La Vanguardia, Deco shared his reaction, stating, “I didn’t see it coming. We were in the thick of planning, discussing potential signings like Vitor Roque and whether Balde’s injury allowed us to make winter transfers… There’s always speculation, but I hadn’t considered this. We were talking about next season; his contract was renewed for that reason.” Regarding President Laporta’s reaction, Deco revealed, “He always wanted to support him until the end of his term. It was Xavi who preferred a shorter contract from the start. He said, ‘If I don’t win, I think I won’t continue.'”
Deco also touched on the underappreciation of the league title won last year, feeling it deserved more recognition. “The fans celebrated it, but the press and the public downplayed it,” he commented.
On whether Xavi was treated unfairly, Deco understands the high expectations but also empathizes with Xavi’s frustration over not feeling valued. “He showed great courage coming in at a crucial time for the club. From there, it’s down to how much one lets things affect them and whether they’re prepared to endure or not.”
Choosing Xavi’s Successor
Deco admitted, “We haven’t spoken to any coaches yet. We’re still processing the coach’s departure” and emphasized that the decision will be made by the club, not just by him. “Decisions aren’t made by one person alone.” As for what they’re looking for in a new coach, Deco said, “We’ll maintain our style of play – it’s unlikely we’ll be a team that doesn’t want to play well or hold the ball. From that standpoint, each coach has their own style, but whoever comes in must have the ambition and hunger to achieve great things and understand what they’re coming into.”
Hit at Pep?
Barcelona’s Sporting Director, Deco, challenges the popular belief that Pep Guardiola took over a struggling Barcelona team in 2008, which was third and 18 points behind Real Madrid, and transformed the club. Despite being one of those moved on by Guardiola’s arrival, Deco acknowledges that Guardiola inherited a strong squad.
Deco highlights the talent available to Guardiola, suggesting he started with a formidable team. Yet, he also recognizes Guardiola’s role in elevating the players’ performance.
“Guardiola’s arrival at Barcelona is often hailed as a massive overhaul, which Deco claims is misleading. Despite the departures of Ronaldinho and himself, Guardiola had at his disposal players like Xavi, Iniesta, a newly promoted Busquets, Yaya Toure—the top player in Africa, Messi, and Samuel Eto’o…”
Deco doesn’t detract from Guardiola’s contributions, praising him for creating what he considers the greatest team he has ever witnessed.
“Guardiola was shrewd. Upon joining, he instilled discipline and leveraged his managerial skills, crafting the finest team I’ve ever seen. His intelligence extended to focusing on the essentials.”
Now responsible for selecting Barcelona’s next coach after Xavi Hernandez announced his departure at season’s end, Deco faces the challenge of finding a leader who can achieve success and maintain the team’s playing style with limited financial resources.
La Liga’s Not Done Yet!
Straight off a weekend that had us all on an emotional rollercoaster, Deco tossed in a much-needed dose of optimism. When quizzed about Barça’s chances in the Champions League, he was quick to redirect the focus back to La Liga, asserting, “Let me make it clear, we never demanded this team to win outright; we asked them to compete. Because when you compete well, the chances of winning naturally go up. If you ask me today, I firmly believe La Liga is far from over.” And with a recent victory fueling our hopes, Deco reminds us that the battles leading up to the Napoli clash are crucial for both us and our adversaries.
VAR: A Blessing or a Curse?
Deco didn’t hold back on the VAR system either, echoing the confusion many of us feel. “It’s puzzling for fans. We’re left guessing why it intervenes sometimes and stays silent other times. It takes strong conviction to issue that yellow without a second look. The rules are what they are, but that expulsion could’ve swung the game.” On Vitor Roque’s second yellow, Deco revealed plans to appeal, calling it a normal part of the game.
Deco Laughs Off ‘Negreira Case’
Touching on the ‘Negreira case’, a hot topic that spans back to his playing days, Deco responded with humor. He reminisced about being uplifted by the goals from Samuel, the magic of Ronnie, Iniesta’s plays, Xavi’s brilliance, Valdés’s saves, Puyol’s interceptions, and Márquez’s game-changing passes. “I don’t believe in such influences,” he chuckled, dismissing the idea that external factors played a part in their success.