April 19, 2024, 2:41 am

Barca manager Xavi to leave at the end of the season

  • Update Time : Sunday, January 28, 2024
  • 32 Time View
Photo: Collected

Desk Report:

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez said on Saturday that he had decided to step down at the end of the season after his side lost 5-3 at home to Villarreal in LaLiga, their third defeat in their last five games in all competitions, reports Reuters.

Barca are third in the table on 44 points, 10 behind leaders Real Madrid and eight adrift of second-placed Girona.

“I’d like to announce that as of June 30 I will not continue as Barca coach,” he told a press conference after meeting with club president Joan Laporta for over half an hour.

“It is a situation of common sense and I have decided that on June 30th I will not continue as Barca coach.

“I think the club needs a change of dynamic and I told the president Joan Laporta. As a fan, thinking about the club and the players, I think they will be freed up and will be calmer.

“I think the best thing to do is to leave on June 30th. Having said that, I will give my all for the four months that are left, I think we can have a good season and I hope that the dynamic will change. I believe I am doing the right thing.”

Xavi played for Barcelona for 17 years, making 767 appearances and winning 25 trophies, including four Champions League titles and eight LaLiga crowns.

But despite being a club great and winning LaLiga last term, Barca’s stuttering campaign has put Xavi under pressure.

They were thrashed by Real in the Spanish Super Cup final earlier in January and knocked out in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals by Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. Barca face last season’s Italian champions Napoli in a Champions League last-16 tie.

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“I had a very human conversation with the president (Laporta), with a lot of common sense. The trust is absolute, he even got a little emotional,” 44-year-old Xavi added.

“But I think it is time. I’m not driven by financial matters, but by my heart. I think it’s the best thing for the club. I don’t want to be a problem for the club in my heart.

“This game today is an example that we need a change of direction because it has been unfortunate and it is a time to change this dynamic. I can’t remember a game as cruel as today.

“I insist. I don’t want to be a problem but a solution and I believe that between now and June I can still be a solution.”

Barca’s on-field struggles are a reflection of the turmoil off the pitch at the club, including deepening financial problems and a refereeing scandal that could drag on for years.

Spanish prosecutors in March 2023 filed a complaint over alleged payments by Barca from 2001 to 2018 totalling more than 7.3 million euros ($7.92 million) to firms owned by former refereeing official Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

A Barcelona court has agreed to take on the case.

Barca already face huge financial challenges related to their massive wage bill and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a 1.6 billion-euro Camp Nou stadium renovation project.

“Being Barca manager is cruel … people don’t value your work,” said Xavi. It’s terrible wear and tear. I’m a positive guy … but you know … It doesn’t make sense to continue. It affects the club, my family … I will be at home for a while, I need to be with my children.”

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