Barcelona part ways with Xavi Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — First, he wanted out. Then he wanted to stay. Finally, Barcelona decided enough is enough and parted ways with coach Xavi Hernandez.

One month after Xavi said he would continue as coach despite a disappointing season, the club told the former midfield great it did not want him back.

In the latest and most likely final twist to a bumpy season, Barcelona announced on Friday that they were making a coaching change for next season.

The club made the announcement after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and other senior figures at the team training ground. Laporta “informed Xavi Hernández that he will not be continuing as first team coach in the 2024-25 season,” the club said.

Xavi led Barcelona to the Spanish league title last season but his team has struggled this campaign, which will finish without a title and a distant second to champion Real Madrid.

Xavi said in January he wanted to leave the club this summer and not complete the last year of his contract. In April, the 44-year-old Xavi changed his mind after his players showed him they believed in the team’s potential and improved their performances.

During the interlude when it seemed Xavi was the one who wanted out, Barcelona sports director Deco said the club was not looking for a new coach. And when Xavi said he was going to stay, an emotional Laporta gave a news conference with his coach to tell Barcelona fans they must be “proud” to have Xavi in charge.

But Laporta was reportedly displeased by Xavi’s recent comments that Barcelona’s poor financial situation would make it nearly impossible to compete against Real Madrid and Europe’s other top clubs.

After the rumours started in local media that Laporta was considering firing the former midfielder, Xavi said he was motivated to continue coaching his boyhood team and was convinced he could still help it win titles.

As recently as last weekend, Xavi said, “I have the support of the president and Deco, our sports director.”

Xavi bade farewell to Barcelona fans on his Instagram page. He had no ill words for Laporta and thanked the executive, players and staff for their support.

“Beyond being a player and coach, first and foremost I am a Barça supporter and I only want the best for the club,” he wrote. “This season has not gone the way we would have liked, but we gave it our all and helped foster a new generation of players from La Masia (training academy) that have thrilled our fans.”

Spanish and German media speculated former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick as Xavi’s replacement.

As a player, Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 after helping the club win 25 titles, including four Champions Leagues and eight Spanish leagues. He was also key to Spain’s streak of titles when they won the 2010 World Cup and European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

Laporta brought Xavi back from his only prior coaching job in Qatar in November 2021 to lead his rebuilding project of a club that had just lost Messi amid a financial crisis.

The following summer, the club sold off future television revenues and other club assets, which Laporta dubbed financial “levers,” to sign Robert Lewandowski and other players. Xavi was able to win the club’s first titles since Messi’s departure and the future looked bright.

This season, however, Barcelona lost all three clasicos against Madrid and was thumped twice by upstart Catalan rival Girona, losing both of their league matchups 4-2. It also lost in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.

Whoever takes over for Xavi will have the tricky task of managing a team with bright young talents like Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsí, Fermin López and the injured Gavi Páez but very limited financial resources.

After flirting with bankruptcy under Laporta’s predecessor, Barcelona is still struggling financially and has had its salary cap greatly reduced in recent seasons. It can only spend some 204 million euros ($221 million) on players and coaching staff, including salaries and transfer payments, compared to Madrid’s 727 million euros ($788 million).

Barcelona has tried to sell Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong and is likely to look to shed salaries. So it is not unthinkable that Lewandowski or goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen could be for sale.

Xavi’s last game in charge will be on Sunday at Sevilla on the final day of the league.

Sevilla coach Quique Sánchez Flores said on Friday he would give Xavi “a big hug” when their teams meet.

“I shouldn’t say this,” Sánchez Flores said, “but look how poorly Barcelona treats its club legends.”