24 May 2024

Xavi to leave Barcelona after latest twist in dramatic saga

24 May 2024

Barcelona manager Xavi is to leave the club following another dramatic U-turn at the Catalan giants.

The 44-year-old previously announced his decision to step down in January following a 5-3 defeat at home to Villarreal that left them 10 points off leaders Real Madrid, but three months later following an upturn in results was persuaded to stay.

However, in a meeting with club president Joan Laporta at the training ground on Friday, the former Spain and Barca midfield star was informed he will not be kept on beyond the end of the current campaign against Sevilla on Sunday.

It has been reported that former Germany boss Hansi Flick is being lined up as Xavi’s replacement.

A club statement said: “FC Barcelona wishes to thank Xavi for his work as coach, as well as for his inimitable career as a player and as team captain, and wishes him every future success in the world.

“Xavi Hernandez will be coaching the team for the last time in Sunday’s game away to Sevilla.

“During the course of the next few days, FC Barcelona will be making an announcement regarding the new first-team structure.”

Having been appointed in November 2021 to manage the club where he won 25 major trophies as a player, 2010 World Cup winner Xavi steered the team from ninth place in LaLiga to the runners-up spot following the sacking of Ronald Koeman.

Barca were crowned champions in his first full season in charge but they subsequently failed to mount a serious challenge to retain their title this term and sit 12 points behind Real going into the final game of the season.

Xavi reflected on his time with Barcelona in a post on Instagram and described his dressing room as a “second family”.

He said: “Dear fans, my time on the Barca bench will end on Sunday. It is never easy to leave the club of your life, but I do it very proudly, after two and a half years at the head of a dressing room that has been like a second family.

“I want to thank the support and affection of the fans, who have always been by my side and have always shown me the same love as during my time as a footballer.

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“From Sunday I will be one more fan in the stands, either now at the Olympic Stadium or in a few months at the Nou Camp Nou. Because before I am a player or a coach, I am a Barcelona supporter and I only want the best for the club in my life, which will always have me at its disposal.

“I have worked with a group of fantastic players and with a spectacular staff. Thanks to all of them, we have been achieving the objectives set, culminating last year with a League and a Super Cup.

“This season things didn’t go as we wanted, but we put our heads together and helped grow a new generation of young footballers from La Masia who inspire all of us Barcelona fans.

“Many thanks to all. To the fans, the players, the staff, the club employees, the President, the Board of Directors, the sports directors, the media and everyone with whom I have shared the journey throughout these two seasons and half.

“I wish the best to the club that I carry in my heart. Long live Barca.”

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