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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Barcelona sack manager Xavi Hernandez with Hansi Flick set to take hot seat

Barcelona will finish second in La Liga, at least nine points behind champions Real Madrid, and Xavi had announced in January that he would resign at the end of this season

Our Bureau, Reuters, AP/PTI Barcelona Published 25.05.24, 10:52 AM
Xavi Hernandez

Xavi Hernandez File image

FC Barcelona sacked manager Xavi Hernandez on Friday, four weeks after confirming their former midfielder would honour the last year of his contract and lead them through next season.

The decision ended months of arguments between Barca and Xavi who made 767 appearances for the club over 17 seasons and helped them win 25 major trophies.

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“Today Friday, FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta has informed Xavi Hernandez that he will not be continuing as first team coach in the 2024-25 season,” Barcelona said.

“Barcelona wish to thank Xavi for his work as coach, as well as for his inimitable career as a player and as team captain, and wishes him every future success in the world.”

Former Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick is set to replace Xavi.

The 59-year-old Flick has been out of work since he was sacked by Germany in September 2023.

Barcelona will finish second in La Liga, at least nine points behind champions Real Madrid, and Xavi had announced in January that he would resign at the end of this season.

After discussions in April at Laporta’s home, however, Xavi reversed his decision and agreed to stay on with a series of unspecified conditions set by the club.

Laporta had reportedly been displeased by Xavi’s recent comments in a news conference that Barcelona’s poor financial situation would make it nearly impossible to compete against Real Madrid and Europe’s other top clubs.

Off the back of winning the La Liga last year in Xavi’s first full season in charge, he was not able to survive a stuttering season as bitter rivals Real Madrid closed in on a possible La Liga-Champions League double.

Barca were thrashed by Real in the Spanish Super Cup final in January, knocked out in the Copa del Rey quarter finals by Athletic Bilbao and eliminated from the Champions League by Paris St Germain at the last-eight stage. Meanwhile, Real will face Borussia Dortmund in next week’s final at Wembley.

Xavi’s final game as manager will be Barca’s trip to Sevilla on Sunday.

The 44-year-old Xavi arrived at Barcelona on a three-year deal following the departure of Dutchman Ronald Koeman at the end of 2021.

Xavi is a product of Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy which he joined at age 11.

As a player, he won 31 trophies for Barcelona and Spain, including the 2010 World Cup, two European Championships, eight La Liga and four Champions League titles.

He coached Barca in 141 games, with 89 wins, 23 draws and 29 losses, leading them last season to their 27th league title and first in four years.

Barca’s on-field struggles reflect the turmoil off the pitch at the club, including deepening financial problems and a refereeing scandal that could drag on for years.

Spanish prosecutors in March 2023 filed a complaint over alleged payments by Barca from 2001 to 2018 totalling more than $7.92 million to firms owned by former refereeing official Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira.

A court has agreed to take on the case.

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