Barcelona Sacks Xavi Hernandez With Hansi Flick Set to Take Over as Barca Struggles Continue

FC Barcelona has sacked manager Xavi Hernandez, just four weeks after confirming he would lead the team through the next season. This decision concludes months of tension between the club and Xavi, a former midfielder who made 767 appearances and helped Barcelona secure 25 major trophies over 17 seasons.

On Friday, Barcelona President Joan Laporta informed Xavi that he would not continue as the first team coach for the 2024-25 season. “Barcelona wishes to thank Xavi for his work as coach, as well as for his incredible career as a player and captain. We wish him all the best for the future,” the club said in a statement.

Hansi Flick, former Bayern Munich boss, is set to replace Xavi. Flick, 59, has been out of work since being sacked by Germany in September 2023.

Barcelona will finish second in La Liga, at least nine points behind champions Real Madrid. Xavi had announced in January that he would resign at the end of the season, but after discussions with Laporta in April, he agreed to stay on under certain conditions set by the club.

Reports suggest Laporta was unhappy with Xavi’s comments about Barcelona’s financial struggles, which he claimed made it nearly impossible to compete with Real Madrid and other top European clubs. Despite winning La Liga last year in his first full season, Xavi could not survive a challenging season as Real Madrid closed in on a potential La Liga-Champions League double.

Under Xavi, Barcelona faced several setbacks: a loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final in January, elimination by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals, and a Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in the last-eight stage. Meanwhile, Real Madrid is set to face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley next week.

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Xavi’s last game as Barcelona’s manager will be against Sevilla on Sunday. The 44-year-old arrived at Barcelona on a three-year deal following the departure of Dutchman Ronald Koeman at the end of 2021. A product of Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy, Xavi joined at age 11 and went on to win 31 trophies for Barcelona and Spain, including the 2010 World Cup, two European Championships, eight La Liga titles, and four Champions League titles.

As a coach, Xavi led Barcelona in 141 games, achieving 89 wins, 23 draws, and 29 losses, and securing their 27th league title last season, the first in four years.

Barcelona’s on-field struggles mirror their off-field issues, including severe financial problems and a lingering refereeing scandal. Spanish prosecutors have filed a complaint over alleged payments by Barca to firms owned by former refereeing official Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira from 2001 to 2018, totaling more than $7.92 million. A court has agreed to take on the case, indicating that the club’s troubles may continue for some time.

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