Barca had a three-goal advantage after 34 minutes in Vigo, but an incredible second-half-comeback from Celta extended the Blaugrana winless La Liga run to four games in a row.

Celta Vigo - FC Barcelona 3-3
FC Barcelona threw away a three-goal lead to end up drawing against Celta Vigo in La Liga. (Image: Twitter/fcbarcelona)

Barcelona unveiled Xavi as their new manager on the day of the game, with the former legendary midfielder ready to start working with the team on Monday. Caretaker Sergi Barjuan was in charge against Celta.

Goals from Ansu Fati (‘5), Sergio Busquets (’18) and Memphis Depay (’34) offered Barcelona a comfortable lead before the break. The advantage was lost in the second half. Aspas netted Celta’s first after 52 minutes, then Nolito put another on the scoresheet for the hosts with 16 minutes left in the game.

The final word belonged to Aspas, who equalized in the fifth minute of stoppage time to make it 3-3. Barcelona not only lost two precious points in Vigo, but also star-attacker Ansu Fati.

Another setback for Fati

The 19-year-old had only returned to his best form following a serious injury that saw him miss the biggest part of last season. Barcelona’s new number 10 scored vital goals since coming back to the pitch in September, after 10 months on the sidelines, including a match-winning goal in Kyiv against Dynamo in the Champions League.

Fati had also been included by Luis Enrique in Spain’s squad for the November internationals before the bad news hit. The forward had to be pulled out by Sergi before the end of the first half in Vigo. The club issued a short statement after the match revealing Fati injured the femoral biceps in his left thigh, making him unavailable for a few weeks.

Eric Garcia and Nico Gonzalez also needed to be substituted because of injuries against Celta. Barcelona’s list of unavailable players already included eight names. The new manager, Xavi, who has been officially unveiled earlier on Saturday, comes in at the hardest of times. Barcelona face a terrible financial reality, with mediocre results on the pitch and a difficult situation in the locker room.

Xavi: ‘I’m really excited to start’

Xavi was appointed on a contract until 2024. Barcelona have reached a deal with Al Sadd in Qatar for Xavi’s early liberation from his agreement in Qatar. The new manager will start his new life at Camp Nou on Monday.

“I have very good feelings, I am really really excited to start. This is my home, I want to know the players, to talk to them. It’s a dream to be here as a coach, now it came true,” Xavi told Barcelona’s media channel.

“It’s a very important thing to be back at Barcelona, a big challenge, but we are ready. We want to start training, we’re very happy to be here in Barcelona. We need the supporters, we will work really hard and we will do everything to make them happy. I am really proud to be a Barcelona supporter and now I’m in charge as a coach,” Xavi said.

Xavi didn’t waste any time and went straight to work. Just hours after putting pen to paper, the former midfielder went to watch the youngsters in Barcelona’s second team as they trashed Sevilla’s B side 4-0 in the third tier game.

41-year-old Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 to end his career at Al Sadd, where he also started coaching in 2019. In just two and a half years as a manager, he won seven trophies at the Gulf club.

During his playing days, Xavi won eight La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies with Barcelona. At the international level, he is a world champion and a two-time Euro winner with Spain. Xavi’s official presentation as Barcelona coach will take place on Monday at Camp Nou (13:00 CET).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *