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Ex-Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates' Modise: How Barcelona’s Xavi overcame ‘dark cloud’

12:02 AM SGT 17/3/22
Xavi Hernandez Barcelona
The retired midfielder says the happiness the players exhibit under the new management has brought positive results

Former South Africa international Teko Modise has explained how Xavi Hernandez has managed to lead Barcelona's rejuvenation since he took over the mantle.

At the time the Spaniard was appointed to succeed Ronald Koeman, the Catalan side was struggling for positive results, but currently, the La Liga giants are unbeaten in their last 10 games.

"I think because they started badly, there was a dark cloud over the team, and [Ansu] Fati, the number 10, got injured. Nothing was going well for the club at the time, some players didn’t want to reduce their salaries," Modise told the media at the La Liga El Clasico event on Tuesday.

"No players could be signed, it was just a mess, and then Xavi came and just brought back the happiness, I think that’s important. For players to get results, they need to be happy, and that happiness starts at training."

Modise also pinpointed how some players have performed exceedingly well since the new manager came in. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the stars to have rediscovered themselves at Barcelona, despite arriving on the backdrop of a fallout with Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta.

"You could see from the training that the players were happy, and players who didn’t give that good performance really changed. You can even see [Ousmane] Dembele now, who’s doing well all of a sudden," explained the General, as Modise is widely known in South Africa.

"Now when you’re thinking about players who want to come to Barcelona, you find [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang coming, being unhappy with his previous manager, and then coming in and scoring goals."

The retired midfielder added that Xavi's stature as a Barcelona legend gave him good ground to help the club make a positive turnaround.

"So you can see they’re starting to be the team that we know," he continued.

"I think the biggest plus is that the coach has the identity and the DNA of the club. He knows what it means to play for Barcelona, and it’s easy to have that conversation that can relate to the players."

Real Madrid will host Barcelona on March 20 for the second round of the El Classico showdown.