Defiant Xavi on Barcelona exit reports: ‘Nothing has changed’

Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernández has insisted that he retains the club’s trust despite the debate about his future beyond this summer re-opening this week.

Xavi, 44, announced last month that he would remain in charge next season, fulfilling his contract which runs until 2025, despite previously revealing his intention to step down at the end of the campaign.

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However, remarks made by Xavi on Wednesday in which he referred to the financial difficulties that are hindering Barça’s attempts to compete and win trophies have created tension with president Joan Laporta.

The official version from Barcelona is that nothing has changed, but sources told ESPN “do not rule out” Xavi’s dismissal, insisting that Laporta has never fully trusted the coach.

“The club convey calmness in me,” Xavi told a news conference on Saturday ahead of Barça’s final home game of the season against Rayo Vallecano at the Olympic Stadium.

“I have the same desire and ambition as ever for these remaining two games and for next season. We have a project. Calmness is the message. I understand the eco-system [around the club], but all the noise doesn’t change anything.

“It doesn’t interest me [where the reports come from]. What interests me is that the president’s confidence remains intact, as does [sporting director] Deco’s.

“I understand the media have to write things, but that is what has been transmitted to me, so, for me, nothing has changed at all.”

Pressed on his relationship with Laporta, Xavi added: “The president has not said anything to me. He has conveyed calm and we are thinking about the Rayo game this weekend.

“Sunday’s match is important to get second place in LaLiga, which is the goal right now, and that is what he has transmitted to me this week.”

One of the reasons Xavi first announced he planned to depart this summer, before April’s U-turn, was because of the mental toll the job was taking on him.

However, he said that he has the energy to continue in the role despite the drama which often surrounds the club and that the squad is capable of winning silverware despite a trophy-less campaign this time around.

“I have zero doubts that things can go well with me as coach,” Xavi said. “The foundation of the squad is strong, with in-house players developed in [the academy] La Masia, who this year consolidated their places in the team.

“I believe that next year we can compete better than this year, so I still have that desire. It’s an honour to be here at what, for me, is the best club in the world, and my ambition and excitement is intact. Things can go well with me here.”

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Laporta, meanwhile, is currently in Zaragoza with Barça’s women’s team ahead of Saturday’s Copa de la Reina final against Real Sociedad.

Approached by reporters upon his arrival at the team hotel, the Barça president turned down the chance to comment on the situation regarding Xavi’s future.

Barça host Rayo in their final home game of the 23-24 campaign on Sunday. A win will confirm second place finish in LaLiga, behind champions Real Madrid, and secure their spot in next season’s Spanish Supercopa.

They then close the season with a trip to Sevilla next weekend.