Xavi announces he will step down as Barcelona head coach

Xavi announces he will step down as Barcelona head coach at the end of the season – The Athletic

Xavi has announced that he will leave his post as Barcelona head coach at the end of the current season.

The club's former captain and midfielder confirmed the news after Saturday's 5-3 home defeat to Villarreal – a result that left the team ten points clear of La Liga leaders Real Madrid and eight points clear of Catalan neighbors Girona.

This result complemented Spain's 4-1 Supercopa final defeat to Real Madrid earlier this month and came days after Barcelona were eliminated from the Copa del Rey following a quarter-final defeat at Athletic Bilbao.

“I have decided that I will not continue beyond June 30,” said Xavi after Saturday’s game. “It is a sensible decision for the good of the club.

“I made this decision days ago. I already knew it. But it's time to make it public.

“I think the players couldn't break free. I don’t want to be a problem for the club, quite the opposite.”

Xavi added: “When I think with my head now and think about the club, the solution and the best thing is that I leave in June, that's how I feel.”

“We just agreed that with the president (Joan Laporta). We have a brilliant president. Him, Rafa Yuste (sports director), Deco… everyone is really capable.

“I think this decision will help relieve the pressure on the team and the atmosphere here.

“I just told President Laporta. We had a meeting, it was a very human conversation, just with common sense. The trust from them is still great.

“But I believe this is the right time to say this. I don't make my decisions based on money, my contract will never be a problem.

“I just make decisions based on my heart. I do not need more.”

Xavi revealed he had not told his team before making his announcement to the media on Saturday evening.

“It's a cruel job, it wears you down,” Xavi added.

“In Barcelona you always have the feeling of being unappreciated and treated badly – that's how the club works.

“It’s also difficult psychologically.

“I am a positive person, but the battery charge is constantly running low – and at some point you realize that there is no point in staying.”

Xavi, 44, was named Ronald Koeman's permanent successor in November 2021 and led the club to the La Liga title in his first full season as the club's manager.

However, he also oversaw the club's exit from successive Champions League group stages, and Barcelona also struggled in the Europa League, reaching the quarter-finals against Frankfurt in 2022 and the knockout playoff round the following season lost to Manchester United.

Barcelona progressed through the group stage of the Champions League this season, but were marred by disappointing defeats against Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp, while the team failed to repeat the strong form that helped them win the league title in 2022/23.

The club lost at home to Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season, while Barcelona were also recently beaten 4-2 at home by top Catalan neighbors Girona.


Barcelona – Villarreal 3:5 – Xavi announces his departure after dramatic defeat

Xavi's side have also dropped points against Getafe, Mallorca, Granada, Rayo Vallecano, Valencia and Villarreal this season and have fallen to third place in the table behind Real Madrid and Girona.

Xavi ended Barcelona's streak of three seasons without a league title after the club's well-documented financial problems had a detrimental impact on its squad, including Lionel Messi, one of the high-profile player departures.

The summer of 2022 proved to be something of a turning point, with club president Joan Laporta setting in motion a series of “palancas,” the “economic levers” to sell future revenue streams in exchange for large but discounted upfront payments that allowed the club to strengthen her troop.

Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen were among the high-profile signings in this summer transfer window and helped lead the club to the league title which was secured with four games to go.

Xavi also led Barcelona to the Spanish Supercopa last season, but a decline in performances and results this season means he will not continue beyond June 30, despite signing a new contract until 2025 with the option of a contract in September another year has signed 2023.

As a player, he played 767 games for Barcelona only Messi (778) has more Xavi initially moved to Qatari club Al Sadd in 2015 before being appointed their coach in 2019 and winning the national championship title in 2021.


Xavi's position at Barcelona: From winning La Liga to fighting for his future

(Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)