A few days before the end of the season, Xavi Hernández talked individually with those footballers he does not count for the next season. Riqui Puig, Umtiti, Mingueza, and Braithwaite were the first to pass through his office. The four of them could already guess what the coach would communicate to them because he had barely counted on them for various reasons. Riqui and Umtiti had assumed that their time at Barça was over, and Braithwaite had already made it clear in public that he had no intention of moving and wants to complete the two years remaining on his contract.
But the reaction that most surprised Xavi was that of Óscar Mingueza. After listening to the coach’s explanation, the defender took the floor and surprised all the members of the staff present, as they expected him to complain about the few opportunities he had had and demand more minutes to show that he could have more minutes at Barca.
But Mingueza’s speech surprised everyone, especially Xavi. “I’m sorry, mister, I haven’t been up to the task”, was the first thing the defender said. He accepted and understood that he had no place in Xavi’s new project and admitted that his performance had been below what was required, for which he commented that he could have done much better and thanked the coach for having “taught him how to play”.
Mingueza’s words and sincerity moved Xavi and the members of the coaching staff. His behavior has always been exemplary and professional. Even when he went several games in a row without playing a single minute, he never gave up and worked harder than anyone in training. His attitude has been positive at all times, and he has added to the benefit of the group despite playing very little.
Mingueza started as a right-back in Xavi’s first game against Espanyol. Later he was losing prominence and was adding minutes almost always coming from the bench. He was the starter and decisive in Mallorca, in the game in which half the squad was out due to Covid, and he was the big surprise in the eleven in the second leg against Eintracht, again as a winger.
Xavi, whom Mingueza moved with his words and sincerity, gave him a few minutes in the final stage between Villarreal-Barça so that he could say goodbye to the Camp Nou and the Barcelona fans. Already last year, several teams were interested in the Catalan defender, and it is expected that he will not have any problems finding a good destination. His attitude and willingness to get out of it are examples for others who cling to the contract to stay even without playing.