Barcelona’s head coach, Xavi Hernandez, has declared his departure from the team at the season’s end. This announcement follows Barcelona’s recent 5-3 loss to Villarreal in La Liga. Xavi, addressing the media, stated, “I will step down on June 30, a decision made together with the club’s president and staff.”
Currently, Barcelona, the reigning champions, sit in third place in La Liga, trailing Real Madrid, the league leaders, by 10 points, casting doubt on their title defense. The decision comes in the wake of Barcelona’s elimination from the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao and a defeat by Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final earlier in the month. Xavi believes this move is in the best interest of the club.
“I have the club and the players in mind,” he said. “I feel it’s the right thing, a sensible choice. The club requires a new direction; our current path is negatively impacting us.”
Appointed as the coach in November 2021, Xavi steered Barcelona to a league title and the Spanish Super Cup last season, with a team known for its robust defense. However, this season, the team has shown defensive vulnerabilities, conceding five goals at home in a La Liga match for the first time since 1963.
Xavi emphasized his commitment to the club, asserting that even a Champions League victory wouldn’t alter his decision to leave. He remains optimistic about Barcelona’s chances this season.
“We will aim for La Liga, despite the challenges,” he added. He plans to discuss his decision with the players, noting their current moral
Xavi’s tenure as Barcelona’s manager has been marked by a mix of triumph and challenges. In his first full season, he led the team to the La Liga title and was recently contracted for an additional two years. Barcelona remains in contention in the Champions League, facing Napoli next.
The decision, according to Xavi, was made a few days prior, with the recent match result affirming his choice. He cited the need for a change in the club’s dynamics and the immense pressure on the players as reasons for his departure.
“It’s better for me to leave,” he stated, “but I will give my all for the remainder of the season. I still believe we can have a great season.”
Xavi, renowned as one of his generation’s greatest midfielders, has had an illustrious career with Barcelona, making a record 767 appearances and winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues. He was also pivotal in Spain’s World Cup and two European Championship victories from 2008 to 2012. After ending his playing career at Barcelona in 2015, he moved to Qatari side Al-Sadd SC, eventually becoming their manager and leading them to seven trophies, including a league title, before his Barcelona coaching appointment in 2021.