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Xavi says he decided to leave Barcelona at start of season, doesn’t rule out return in future

Barcelona head coach Xavi says he decided to leave his role at the start of the season — but did not rule out a return to the club in the future.

Xavi announced his resignation as Barcelona coach on Saturday, following their 5-3 home loss against Villarreal. Upon that announcement, the 44-year-old said he “took this decision days ago”. In September, Xavi signed a one-year contract extension with Barcelona, taking his deal until June 2025.

“The decision about my resignation has been made for a long time, our work is not valued enough,” Xavi said on Tuesday. “That’s why I had decided from the beginning of the season to leave.

“The (contract) renewal was closed many months ago, it has nothing to do with it.

“I don’t rule out a return to Barca. I’m a club man. But I don’t think they don’t need me now. We need another person, another type of coach.

“I have the feeling that the job, which is very good, is not valued.”

Xavi took the Barcelona job in November 2021, replacing Ronald Koeman, and guided the Catalan club to a second-placed finish at the end of the campaign. Barcelona won the La Liga title in 2022-23, Xavi’s first full season in charge, but were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage for the second year in a row.

This season, though, Barcelona have struggled domestically and are fourth in La Liga, lost 4-1 to Real Madrid in the Super Cup and were knocked out by Athletic Bilbao in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, although they did top their Champions League group.

“I don’t think they (our achievements) have been valued enough,” Xavi added. “That generates a wear and tear that you think, you do what you do, it’s not valued.

“We have withstood the pressure and we have arrived at one of the most difficult times for the club and I prefer not to continue.

“That’s how I feel. That’s how it is. They make you feel you’re not worth it every day. Talking to Pep, he told me that. I saw Luis Enrique suffer.

“We have to reflect. We have a problem with the demands of this position. It seems like your life is on the line at every moment. That’s why I say it’s cruel, you don’t enjoy it.

“When I have appeared here, I have told you what I thought. When I say that we are under construction, you (the press) kill me.

“When I say that we don’t have the Barca of 2010, that’s what I think. I have the feeling that they are not going to believe me.

“Even if we beat Madrid by 14 points in the league, they won’t value it. I’ve been telling the story and it hasn’t been accepted. It’s a problem of the environment, the club and the demands on me.”

(David Ramos/Getty Images)

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