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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

‘If it wasn’t Xavi, I would have already fired the manager in this situation’ – Joan Laporta

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said he would have parted company with most head coaches in Xavi’s situation but accepted his decision to resign at the end of the season because of the former midfielder’s status at the club.

Xavi announced he would be stepping down in June after Barcelona’s home defeat to Villarreal left them 11 points behind La Liga leaders Girona.

Laporta said he would usually not permit such circumstances “if it wasn’t Xavi”.

On the possibility of sacking Xavi before June, Laporta said: “If it’s down to me, I won’t fire Xavi. He does not deserve that. He truly believes in that formula we have set up until the end of the season. Barca won’t give up in La Liga or the Champions League and we have a squad good enough to compete and win against Napoli. We don’t doubt how involved the management and players are.

“If it wasn’t Xavi, I would have already fired the manager in this situation.”

Xavi made 767 appearances for Barcelona as a player  only Lionel Messi has more (778) and won 15 major trophies. He was appointed as Barcelona head coach in November 2021 as the permanent successor to Ronald Koeman, and guided them to the La Liga title in his first full season in charge.

Although the club progressed to the Champions League knockout stages this season, having failed to in each of the previous two campaigns, they have not been able to replicate the form that saw them secure the 2022-23 league title, and exited the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage.

Laporta said the managerial search was the responsibility of sporting director Deco.

“Deco is working on it; I’ve delegated this task to him,” he added. “I trust Xavi for the remainder of the season.”

Barcelona return to action against Alaves in La Liga on Saturday.

(Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)



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