Barcelona’s coach, Xavi Hernandez, said on Monday that during his playing days, the squad helped create a high standard that the team is now finding difficult to meet in the Champions League.
Between 2006 and 2015, the Catalan giants won four editions of the championship; nevertheless, since then, they suffered numerous painful eliminations.
Barcelona has failed to advance beyond the group stage in the last two seasons and has recently let leads slip against Roma and Liverpool and been humiliated by Bayern Munich.
At a press conference, Xavi said, “There is a lot of demand on us, the bar is so high—this is Barca.”
“As a player, this is a result of the Barcelona of the last few years, of our period. Between 2006 and 2015, ten years, four Champions League titles were captured.”
Before the team’s competitive debut on Tuesday against Belgian champions Royal Antwerp, the coach said that the team’s goal was to go through the group stage.
“We enjoy challenges, but it’s brutal how high the demand is,” he said.
“It’s a result of coming into this club at the beginning of its most successful period in history,”
Xavi, nevertheless, said that his team was adjusting well and was eager to begin their next European season.
“I see hope when I look at the players’ faces—I see joy,” Xavi said. “Enormous desire and hope.”
Barcelona, who are still having financial problems, didn’t spend much in the summer but still manage to recruit Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo on loan.
Additionally, they recruited Girona native Oriol Romeu, a former member of Barcelona’s youth squad, to replace Sergio Busquets.
The thirty-one-year-old midfielder, who moved from Barcelona to Chelsea in 2011 before joining Southampton in 2015, said he never thought he would be back at this level.
Romeu remarked, “It’s hard to imagine that when you go to Southampton you think you’ll be playing a key role at Barcelona (one day).”
Football is a game full of turns and twists. I’m pleased and optimistic that I’ll do well.”