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

Xavi has announced he will leave his position as Barcelona head coach at the end of the current campaign.

The club’s former captain and midfield icon confirmed the news following Saturday’s 5-3 home defeat to Villarreal — a result which left the side ten points off La Liga leaders Real Madrid and eight from Catalan neighbours Girona.

It was a result which added to the 4-1 Spanish Supercopa final defeat to Real Madrid earlier this month and comes days after Barcelona exited the Copa del Rey following a quarter-final loss at Athletic Bilbao.

“I have decided I will not continue beyond June 30 (the end date of his contract),” Xavi said after Saturday’s match.

“It is a common sense decision for the good of the club.”

Xavi, 44, was appointed as Barcelona managed in November 2021 as the permanent successor to Ronald Koeman, and guided the club to the title in La Liga in his first full season in charge of the club.

However, he also oversaw the club’s elimination in back-to-back Champions League group stage campaigns and Barcelona also struggled in the Europa League, losing their quarter-final against Frankfurt in 2022 and in the knockout playoff round against Manchester United the following campaign.

Barcelona did progress through their Champions League group stage this campaign but it was marked by disappointing defeats to Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp, while the team have not been able to replicate their strong form that saw them secure the league title in 2022-23.

The club were defeated the first El Clasico of the season at home to Real Madrid, while Barcelona were also recently defeated 4-2 at home to high-flying Catalan neighbours Girona.

Xavi’s side have also dropped points against Getafe, Mallorca, Granada, Rayo Vallecano, Valencia and Villarreal this season, seeing them slip to third in the standings behind Real Madrid and Girona.

Xavi ended Barcelona’s spell of three seasons without a league title after the club’s well-documented financial issues had a detrimental impact on their squad, with Lionel Messi among their high-profile playing departures.

The summer of 2022 proved to be somewhat of a turning point, as club president Joan Laporta pulled a series of ‘palancas’, the ‘economic levers’ of selling future revenue streams for big, but discounted, upfront payments which allowed the club to strengthen their squad.

Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen were among the high-profile arrivals in that summer transfer window, and they helped propel the club to the league title which was secured with four games to spare.

Xavi also guided Barcelona to the Spanish Supercopa last season, but a drop off in performances and results this season ensures he will not continue beyond his contract which expires on June 30.

Having made 767 appearances for Barcelona as a player only Messi (778) has more Xavi initially joined Qatari club Al Sadd in 2015 before being appointed their manager in 2019, winning the nation’s league title in 2021.

(Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

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