Barcelona manager Xavi accepts sacking, won’t reveal reasons

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández has said he accepts the club’s decision to sack him but he would like to have departed in other circumstances.

Barça president Joan Laporta told Xavi on Friday that he would not continue beyond Sunday’s final game of the season away at Sevilla, with sources telling ESPN that Hansi Flick will replace him.

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“I spoke with the president and he transmitted to me his reasons for considering the need for a change,” Xavi said in a news conference on Saturday, although he would not elaborate on the motives given by Laporta.

“All I can do is accept it and respect it. He’s the one who makes the decisions at the club. We shook hands, hugged and wished each other the best. I will be another fan in the stands now.

“The decision was made thinking of the club’s [best interests] because they believe a change of direction is needed.

“I have remained motivated, hungry and ambitious until now. I believe in the squad, that we could do big things with small changes, but it was not to be.”

Xavi, 44, initially announced in January that he would step down at the end of the season, but in April he revealed the club had convinced him to fulfil his contract, which was due to expire in 2025.

However, just a month later, Laporta reneged on that agreement, instead dismissing Xavi, which drew criticism from Sevilla coach Quique Sánchez Flores over their poor treatment of club legends.

“It’s not a question for me to answer,” Xavi said when asked about Flores’ remarks slamming how Lionel Messi, Ronald Koeman and now Xavi have left the Catalan team.

“I would have liked [to leave in] other circumstances. I believed in the squad.”

Xavi said there were no problems with Laporta or sporting director Deco and that he was grateful to them both, while he also suggested he is still willing to forgo the final year of his contract — as he said he would when he planned to resign.

“There won’t be any problems [with the payoff],” he added. “I have already said that and that’s how it will be.”

Xavi leaves Barça after 2½ years in charge. He replaced Ronald Koeman in 2021 with the team ninth in LaLiga and guided them to a second-placed finish.

Last season, his first full campaign in charge, ended with Barça’s first league title since 2019, while they also won the Spanish Supercopa, but they will end a disappointing season this year second in LaLiga behind Real Madrid and trophy-less.

“The last few days have been complicated, but I have a clear conscience,” Xavi reflected. “I am proud and happy of the work we have done in the last couple of years.

“We came it at a difficult moment. It’s not been easy because of the club’s [financial] situation. We have always put the club first. In general, I am happy, because a good job has been done, even if things haven’t gone as we wanted this season.

“It’s been a spectacular experience and a tremendous learning curve. We will try to enjoy [Sunday’s] final game [in charge] against Sevilla.

“From there, I have said I would like to take a break and then we will see what the future holds. I would never close the door [on returning], either. This is the club of my life.”