Xavi to step down as Barcelona boss when season ends

Xavi will step down as Barcelona head coach at the end of the season.

He announced the decision after Barcelona lost 5-3 at home to Villarreal, conceding twice in added time at the Nou Camp.

The result which leaves them 10 points off LaLiga leaders Real Madrid. Girona are also ahead of them in second, currently on 52 points.

“I want to announce that on June 30 I will no longer continue as the coach at Barca,” Xavi said.

“I think the situation needs to change course, and as a culer, I cannot allow the current situation.”

Xavi added that he made the decision ‘several days ago,’ and although the hard defeat to Villarreal set the scene for him to announce the decision, he ‘would have made’ it soon enough.

He said he hoped this decision will decrease the stress and tension his team is enduring.

Spanish football expert and Sky Sports News guest Semra Hunter said of Xavi’s departure on X: “It’s honestly a bit bonkers to think how a coach that won a league + a Super Cup in 2.5 years with a mediocre squad at a club in financial ruin and instituonal disarray can be driven from his post because of the immense pressure, scrutiny, and demands to be competitive and win.”

Xavi will bring an end to his tenure after less than three years, having been appointed as manager of his former club – where he won 25 major trophies – in November 2021.

The legendary midfielder replaced Ronald Koeman with his only experience a stint in Qatar with Al Sadd. He had a contract through until the end of next season.

Last season, Xavi led Barcelona to the Supercopa de Espana and LaLiga titles in his first full season and the first trophies since Lionel Messi’s departure for PSG.

But Barcelona have struggled this season and have shown signs of suffering a collapse this month. They were beaten 4-1 by Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago.

Barcelona players, left, react after Villarreal's Jose Luis Morales scoring his side's fifth goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Villarreal at the Olimpic Lluis Companys stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
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Barcelona suffered a dramatic late defeat to Villarreal

Barcelona crashed out of the Copa del Rey with a 4-2 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in their quarter-final on Thursday night.

Villarreal scored twice in stoppage time at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys to heap further pressure on Xavi after his side had fought back from 2-0 down.

“Practically, I don’t remember a match as cruel as today’s,” said Xavi, whose contract was set to run until 2025.

“This match has been unfortunate and it is a time to change this dynamic.”

The former Spain international, a 2010 World Cup winner, helped Barcelona to eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League victories during his time as a player.

“I am not moved by economic matters, but by the heart,” Xavi said. “I think it is the best for the club. I don’t want to be a problem for the club of my heart.

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

Barcelona will recommence their Champions League campaign in February when they face Napoli in the last 16, which is the first time Barcelona have reached that stage of the competition in three seasons.

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