I'm leaving Barcelona with 'clear conscience': Xavi

AFP , Saturday 25 May 2024

Sacked Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said Saturday he was leaving the club with a "clear conscience".

Xavi
Barcelona Spanish coach Xavi holds a press conference at the Joan Gamper training ground in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona, on May 25, 2024. AFP

President Joan Laporta took the decision to remove the former midfield great on Friday, mere weeks after saying he was delighted Xavi was staying for the final year of his contract.

In January the coach said he would leave at the end of the season but after a surge in form in April he and Laporta announced that he would remain in charge next season.

Despite media reports saying Laporta had decided to sack Xavi over the past fortnight, the coach insisted he was looking forward to next season and had heard nothing from the board, until the axe finally dropped.

"I'm doing OK, it's not been easy, it's been a tricky time," Xavi told a news conference ahead of his final match at the helm, against Sevilla on Sunday in La Liga.

"We can be proud of the work that we've done, it's not been easy because of the situation the club is going through.

"I have a clear conscience, in general, I am happy -- we have done good work even though this year we did not achieve our objectives. Content, satisfied, grateful."

Barcelona won La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup last season but this year finished without any silverware.

Real Madrid regained the Spanish title with ease and Paris Saint-Germain knocked Barcelona out in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Xavi, 44, reiterated he was grateful to Laporta and the board for giving him the chance to coach the club, that he was leaving "in peace" and hoped one day to work with Barcelona again.

"They have decided this, thinking about the club and that it needed a change in direction, I can only accept it and respect it," continued the coach.

"We need a rest, and (if Barca need me again) we will evaluate the circumstances.

"I hope we can return to work for and with the club of our lives."

As a player Xavi made 767 appearances for the Catalan club, behind only Lionel Messi, winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues among other trophies.

Former Bayern Munich and Germany coach Hansi Flick is heavily tipped to replace Xavi.

Flick, 59, has not coached since Germany sacked him in 2023 after a poor run of results.

Previously Flick steered Bayern to a treble in 2020, including an 8-2 thrashing of Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.

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