Barcelona Manager Xavi Hernandez to Leave at End of Season after 5-3 Loss

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The 44-year-old, who won 25 honours during an illustrious playing career at Barcelona, will officially step down on June 30 despite still having a year left on his contract.

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez announced Saturday that he will step down at the end of the season after his side lost 5-3 at home to Villarreal in La Liga, their third defeat in their last five games in all competitions.

Barca are third in the table on 44 points, 10 behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid and eight adrift of second-placed Girona.

“I’d like to announce that as of June 30, I will not continue as Barca coach,” Xavi told a press conference after meeting with club president Joan Laporta for over half an hour.

The 44-year-old former Barcelona and Spain midfielder, who took charge in November 2021 after leaving Qatari club Al Sadd, called the decision “common sense” and said that, “as a Barcelona fan”, he felt that in leaving he was doing “the right thing”.

“I think the club needs a change of dynamic and I told the president Joan Laporta. As a fan, thinking about the club and the players, I think they will be freed up and will be calmer,” Xavi said.

“I think the best thing to do is to leave on June 30th. Having said that, I will give my all for the four months that are left, I think we can have a good season and I hope that the dynamic will change. I believe I am doing the right thing.”

Xavi played for Barcelona for 17 years, making 767 appearances and winning 25 trophies, including four Champions League titles and eight La Liga crowns. He guided Barca to the Spanish title in his first full season in charge in 2022-23.

I’ve been a man of the club. I’ve prioritised it above even myself. I’ve given everything I have. And I will continue to do so to make the fans feel proud,” he said.

The 2010 World Cup winner said this month that he would “pack his bags” if his players lost faith in him following a 4-1 defeat by rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

Barca responded with back-to-back wins, but then went out of the Copa del Rey with defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday before slipping further behind in the title race at Villarreal.

Xavi says the job has taken its toll and that the time is right for him to step back for his mental health.

“In Barcelona, you always feel like you’re not valued, you’re mistreated – that’s how the club works,” he said. “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.”

He added: “Being Barca manager is cruel ... people don’t value your work. It’s terrible wear and tear. I’m a positive guy ... but you know ... It doesn’t make sense to continue. It affects the club, my family ... I will be at home for a while. I need to be with my children.”

Xavi also hopes that in announcing his departure now, it will “de-escalate” the situation for the rest of the season, which includes a Champions League last-16 tie against Napoli next month.

“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,” he added.

“'I’m not driven by financial matters, but by my heart. I think it’s the best thing for the club. I don’t want to be a problem for the club in my heart.

I don’t want to be a problem but a solution and I believe that between now and June I can still be a solution.”