Barcelona sack Xavi in farcical end to chaotic manager saga

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Xavi Hernandez is the latest addition to the summer managerial merry-go-round after FC Barcelona ended a bizarre month of back-and-forth decision-making by announcing he is to be sacked after the final game of the season in LaLiga.

Back in January of this year, the club icon announced he would not see out the final year of his deal and would step down at the end of 2023/24 - only for improved results and the backing of the board to convince him to make an about-turn and confirm he would stay in place, as recently as late April.

“Xavi will stay, he’s really happy and excited, there is unanimity in the club’s board that he should continue,” said vice president Rafa Yuste only a month ago.

However, since then there has been constant speculation he would be replaced regardless and now the Camp Nou club have announced his imminent departure, with club president Joan Laporta telling Xavi on Friday morning that his contract would be ended, following reports that the club had been annoyed by the head coach’s approach to press conferences, in which he repeatedly suggested the club’s financial concerns meant they could not compete for major honours.

The timing is all the more farcical as the club have a Uefa Women’s Champions League final in just one day - Barcelona Feminin taking on Lyon on Saturday in Bilbao.

A statement from the Catalan side read: “FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has informed Xavi Hernandez that he will not be continuing as first team coach in the 2024-25 season.

“The meeting happened at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper and was also attended by sporting vice-president Rafa Yuste, director of sport Anderson Luis de Souza, Deco, Xavi, Oscar Hernandez and Sergio Alegre.

“FC Barcelona wishes 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. Xavi Hernández will be coaching the team for the last time in Sunday’s game away to Sevilla. During the course of the next few days, FC Barcelona will be making an announcement regarding the new first team structure.”

Only a few weeks earlier, Laporta had reacted to Xavi opting to stay by saying: “I got the good news in which he conveyed his enthusiasm and confidence for the project and the team and project. Our coach is ambitious to create a project that has already won things and that must continue to win. But now it will be even more competitive because changes will be made for the better.”

Back in March before Xavi’s initial change of mind, Barcelona were reportedly considering Sporting CP boss Ruben Amorim as their new head coach. Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino have since become available too, but former Bayern Munich and Germany national team boss Hansi Flick has been widely linked as the potential new face in the Camp Nou dugout.