Barcelona sack head coach Xavi with Flick primed to replace him

Barcelona have sacked head coach Xavi after three years in the role, with former Bayern Munich and Germany boss Hansi Flick primed to replace him.

The 44-year-old Spaniard will take charge of Barcelona’s final game of the season against Sevilla on Sunday before leaving the club.

The decision to sack Xavi comes a month after Barcelona persuaded him to stay on as manager after he initially planned to leave at the end of this campaign.

Xavi’s turbulent 2024 with Barcelona

  • January 27, 2024 – Xavi announces he will walk away from Barcelona, describing the role as “cruel and unpleasant”.
  • April 24, 2024 – Barcelona announce Xavi has reversed his decision and will take the team into next season.
  • May 24, 2024 – Xavi is sacked as Barcelona manager

According to Sky in Germany, Barcelona have reached a verbal agreement with Flick to become coach. The Spanish club say they plan to make an announcement regarding Xavi’s replacement over the next few days.

A statement from the Catalan club read: “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 will depart Barcelona with the club in second place in the table, but they go into Sunday’s final day of the season 12 points behind champions Real Madrid.

The Spaniard also took the Catalans to the Champions League quarter-finals but lost to Paris Saint-Germain.

Xavi will leave his role as Barcelona head coach at the end of the season
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Xavi will leave his role as Barcelona head coach after Sunday’s final game with Sevilla

Overall, Xavi won the LaLiga title in 2023 and also lifted the Spanish Super Cup a few months later.

Xavi: Never easy to leave the club of your life

In an open letter published on social media, Xavi admitted it was difficult to leave but insisted he was proud to help pave the way for the club’s future stars despite a tough campaign.

“It is never easy to leave the club of your life, but I am very proud after two and a half years at the head of a dressing room that has been like a second family,” Xavi wrote.

FILE - Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez reacts during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Betis and Barcelona at Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain, Saturday, May 7, 2022. Xavi has missed his team's flight for a preseason tour of the United States because of problems with his passport, the Spanish club said Saturday, July 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Jose Breton, File)

“From Sunday I will be another fan in the stands… Because before being a player or a coach I am a Barcelona fan and I only want the best for the club in my life, which will always have me at its disposal.

“This season things have not gone our way, but we have let it go and helped to grow a new generation of young footballers from La Masia who inspire all Barcelona fans… I wish the best for the club that I hold dear to my heart.”

Sevilla boss: How badly do Barcelona treat their legends?

Sevilla manager Quique Sanchez Flores, who will also be departing the club after Sunday’s game with Barcelona, criticised the Catalan club for having a “bad streak” with regards to keeping their legends at the club.

Flores referenced the way Lionel Messi and Ronald Koeman left Barcelona in recent years as other examples of how poorly Barcelona have treated their key figures.

“Xavi is a coach who has cared a lot about the club. He has experienced many things as a player and has done a good job as a coach,” the former Watford manager said.

“I’ll give him a huge hug, we’ll talk.

“I shouldn’t say this, but how badly Barcelona treats its legends. Koeman, Messi, with Xavi now… what a bad streak. I wish clubs would value their legends. That adds up.”

Which top European clubs have sacked their manager?

Barcelona are the latest top European club to sack their manager at the end of this season.

In the Premier League, Chelsea are looking for a new coach after sacking Mauricio Pochettino this week. There is also serious doubt over Erik ten Hag‘s future at Manchester United, who recorded their lowest-ever finish in England’s top-flight this term.

Brighton also parted ways with Roberto De Zerbi earlier this month despite the Italian guiding the club to its first ever European campaign this season.

Bayern Munich are another top club looking for a manager after informing Thomas Tuchel in January that he would not be kept on. Burnley manager Vincent Kompany is currently the German club’s preferred candidate.

AC Milan announced that manager Stefano Pioli will leave the club, with former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca the frontrunner to succeed him.

Juventus was also sacked Massimiliano Allegri last week after the Italian manager’s behaviour after the Coppa Italia win over Atalanta. He is set to be replaced by Thiago Motta, who will leave third-placed Bologna next week.

Ajax have also recplaced interim manager John van’t Schip with Nice manager Francesco Farioli, who has left the French club.

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