Updated May 24th, 2024 at 20:53 IST

Barcelona parts ways with Xavi, a month after he reversed his decision to step down as coach

A month after Xavi Hernández expressed his intention to continue as Barcelona's coach despite a lacklustre season, the Spanish club has sacked him.

Xavi Hernandez | Image: AP
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First, he wanted to leave. Then he chose to stay. Ultimately, Barcelona decided enough was enough and opted to part ways. A month after Xavi Hernández expressed his intention to continue as Barcelona's coach despite a lacklustre season, the Spanish club informed the legendary midfielder that they no longer wanted him back.

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Barcelona sack Xavi Hernandez

In the latest, and likely final, twist of Xavi's tumultuous season at the helm, Barcelona announced on Friday that they would be changing coaches for the next season. The announcement came following a meeting at the team’s training ground between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi, and several other senior officials.

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The club stated that Laporta “has informed Xavi Hernández that he will not be continuing as the first-team coach in the 2024-25 season.” Xavi led Barcelona to the Spanish league title last season, but his team struggled this year, finishing without a title and a distant second to champions Real Madrid. His departure follows Xavi's reversal of a previous decision made in January to leave the club this summer before completing the final year of his contract. In April, the 44-year-old Xavi announced he had changed his mind after witnessing his players' belief in the team's potential and their improved performances. During the period when Xavi seemed intent on leaving, Barcelona's sports director Deco stated that the club was not seeking a new coach. When Xavi reversed his decision to step down, an emotional Laporta held a news conference with him, urging Barcelona fans to be "proud" of having Xavi as their coach. However, Laporta was reportedly displeased with Xavi's recent remarks in a news conference, where he suggested that Barcelona's poor financial situation would make it nearly impossible to compete with Real Madrid and Europe’s other top clubs.

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Speculations were rife already

After the rumours started in local media that Laporta was considering firing the former midfielder, Xavi said he was motivated to continue coaching his boyhood team and was convinced that he could still help it win titles. It appears that Laporta had other ideas. Spanish and German media speculated that Barcelona could hire former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick as Xavi’s replacement. As a player, Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 after helping the club win 25 titles, including four Champions Leagues and eight Spanish leagues. He was also key to Spain’s streak of titles when it won the 2010 World Cup and European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

Laporta brought Xavi back from his only prior coaching job in Qatar in November 2021 to lead his rebuilding project of a club that had just lost Messi amid a financial crisis. The following summer the club to sold off future television revenues and other club assets, which Laporta dubbed financial “levers,” to sign Robert Lewandowski and other players. Xavi was able to win the club’s first title since Messi’s departure and the future looked bright. This season, however, Barcelona lost all three ‘clasico’ matches against Madrid and was thumped twice by upstart Catalan rival Girona, losing both of their league matchups 4-2. It also lost in the quarterfinals of both the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. Xavi’s last game in charge will be Sunday’s away game against Sevilla on the final day of the league season.

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(With inputs from AP)

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Published May 24th, 2024 at 20:53 IST