The software that helps Xavi win the League with Barça

Xavi Hernández had not entered the door of his house after the 0-4 defeat in the Copa del Rey semifinal and his assistants already had in their possession an exhaustive video analysis of the match. Everything that happened in those 90 minutes at the Camp Nou at the shot of a clip. Actions with the ball, without the ball, tactics used, their execution, meters covered by each one in each action, their speed, the distance between defenses, distance between lines, between their players and their rivals… Complete information on their footballers and those of Ancelotti.

With a single clip, David Prats, Toni Lobo and Sergio Garcia, Xavi’s analysts, had access to images with graphics so they could analyze everything done by Benzema, for example: his movements between the lines, his unchecking after recovery, if his actions followed a pattern, at what distance from the defender he had generated actions of success, where did he move when Busquets was driving, what did the Frenchman do when Balde went up or when Vinicius had the ball 10 meters from the touchline… Those images of the game that they had played hours before could be compared with those of Benzema in previous duels against Barcelona or compare them with their own in the League, or only against Champions League rivals or specifically the plays in which Araujo or Koundé were involved. And all that information about Benzema or any other footballer who stepped on the pitch that night, without Xavi having yet arrived at his house.

Capture of the Kognia platform.
Capture of the Kognia platform.

Xavi’s coaching staff works with the Kognia Sport Intelligence analysis tool. The startup, based in Barcelona, ​​has created and patented software that dissects match images into more than 300 tactical concepts instantly. This tool helps analysts from Barcelona and from other clubs, coaches and companies that work with it, such as Villarreal, Unai Emery’s Aston Villa or Iker Casillas’ SportBoost company. “The key is in the process of algorithms that allow generating 25 different data from a single position data; In addition, the information is transmitted in the language of the coaches, with graphics and detailed information; allowing the simultaneous analysis of several matches”, explains Maurici A. López-Felip, CEO of Kognia. The tool even has the ability to automate and perform tactical analysis “in real time”.

Xavi, with his brother on the bench with a tablet.
Xavi, with his brother on the bench with a tablet. RODOLFO MOLINADiaryAS

From Carles Puyol to the beginnings of Xavi Hernández

Maurici A. López-Felip is a soccer man, as well as a graduate in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences. A locker room partner in the lower categories of Piqué or Cesc, he was always concerned about tactical analysis. In fact, in his student years, he edited videos for Joan Vilà, coordinator of La Masía and one of Xavi’s ‘fathers’. Among the players that Maurici analyzed so that through his videos they could improve was Carles Puyol. “It was a laborious and slow job of cutting and pasting images,” he recalls. This concern for facilitating and improving tactical analysis accompanied him during his two-year scholarship in the United States, where he met Herry Harrison, co-founder of Kognia and creator of the software.

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“The key is in the process of algorithms that allow the generation of 25 different data from a single position data”

Maurici A. López-Felip, CEO of Kognia

“This platform maximizes the time of the analysis departments of the clubs and, consequently, increases the quality of their reports, because it allows them to have more hours to study their own game and that of their opponents”, points out Maurici A. López-Felip , who remembers that Kognia and Xavi have gone hand in hand since the startup’s origins: “We had friends in common and he was the first person who approached us, he did it when he was still a player but he was already beginning to think about coaching.” Thus, Xavi and his coaching staff volunteered to test the tool during his time in Qatar. “Those beginnings were useful to both of us, because he had time to squeeze the tool and it helped us to know what a coaching staff needs and improve the service.” Today Kognia has clients in the Bundesliga, Premier and Serie A.

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