Following Gerard Pique’s retirement, Barcelona manager Xavi claims that “not much is going to change,” with the Blaugrana squad ready to contribute to filling the vacuum left by the defender.
The seasoned center back abruptly announced his retirement from the professional game last week. He then left the game on a high note by defeating Almeria 2-0 in LaLiga.
Pique left the team in the 84th minute to a standing ovation, ending his nearly 15-year tenure there. He started out as a junior before switching to Manchester United.
When asked how Barca would change after his departure, Xavi insisted there would be minimal change within the group, saying they would work together to make up for his absence.
“Not much is going to change,” Xavi stated. “Everyone has their leading role in the team.
“We’re going to miss Gerard but [the departure of long-term players] has always happened. When somebody has left, the rest have been relocated.”
In other places, Xavi discussed the performances of Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele, two wingers at Camp Nou who have had very different seasons.
The Frenchman appears to have found his form again with four goals and five assists in 13 games in the top division, while the Brazilian, who was acquired from Leeds United before the season, has scored just one goal in 12 LaLiga matches.
On Raphinha, Xavi added: “He has total confidence on our part. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want, but you have to keep working. We believe in him a lot, and I’m sure the goals will come.
“As for Dembele, he’s making a difference. His numbers have changed. He is being important, and he is feeling that way too.
“He is happy, and he has grown a lot. He lacks consistency, but because of his talent and skill, he has everything to be the best in the world.”