Barcelona manager Xavi has announced he will leave the club at the end of the season.
Following Saturday’s 5-3 home defeat by Villarreal, Xavi confirmed his departure in the post-match press conference.
Xavi Hernández: "I want to announce that on June 30 I will no longer continue as the coach at Barça. I think the situation needs to change course, and as a culer, I cannot allow the current situation." pic.twitter.com/VSEfG2zRNt
“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 (Barca fan), I cannot allow the current situation.”
Xavi continued: “It is a decision that I have made with the president (Joan Laporta), with (vice-president) Rafa Yuste, with (sporting director) Deco.
“I think the club needs a change of dynamic. For the good of the players, I believe that they will free themselves. We play with a lot of tension.
“For the good of the board of directors, it is best that I leave.
“I will give my best. I think all of that will help the dynamic change. This is the message I would like to give. I think I am doing the right thing.
“I wouldn’t change my decision even if I won the Champions League. I will tell the players tomorrow. I’m the most responsible one, so the players will finally feel free now.”
Xavi feels his decision will allow the team and club to move forward into the rest of the campaign, which will also see them in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
“This de-escalates the general situation,” he said. “Until today, good work has been done, but I think that our project, as a coach, is until June 30. This will remove tension.
“I have made the decision for days, and in a way, I have freed myself, but I don’t want to be a hindrance.
“I have always wanted to be a solution for Barca, as I was two years and three months ago – but thinking with my heart, I think it is best for him to leave office on June 30.
“I thank the president for his trust. All this will de-escalate the general situation.”
Xavi: "I've been a man of the Club. I've prioritized it above even myself. I've given everything I have. And I will continue to do so to make the fans feel proud." pic.twitter.com/uspbqhgupi
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 27, 2024
Barcelona crashed out of the Copa del Rey with a 4-2 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in their quarter-final on Wednesday 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.”
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Xavi, 44, hinted he also felt he needed to take some time away to recharge.
“In Barcelona, you always feel like you’re not valued, you’re mistreated — that’s how the club works,” said Xavi, who returned to Barcelona as manager in November 2021.
“From a mental health level, it’s tough too. I am a positive guy, but the battery levels keep running out — and at some point, you realise there’s no point in staying.”