Xavi announce his exit from Barcelona: Just days after Klopp’s bombshell announcement, Xavi has now followed up by announcing his departure from Barcelona at the end of the season. The Spaniard stated this after their game against Villarreal where they lost 5-3 at home.
Having won the league title last season, his departure comes as a massive surprise to all.
Barcelona 3-5 Villareal
Which match made Xavi announce his exit?
The Camp Nou side needed a win to keep themselves in the title race and close the gap on leaders Real Madrid to seven points. Villarreal seemed like the perfect club to get a win over as they sit in 14th place and many fans and players surely thought three points were guaranteed.
The thought quickly vanished from many people’s minds when after 54 minutes, they found themselves down 2-0 to goals from Gerard Moreno and Ilias Akhomach. They were able to fight back in spectacular fashion with goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Pedri and an Eric Bailly own-goal, all in the Spanish of 11 minutes. This put them up 3-2 and many believed they would see out the rest of the game and even add a goal or two.
But Villarreal equalized with six minutes remaining and Alexander Sorloth put the visitors back in front in the ninth minute of stoppage time. Jose Luis Morales then added a fifth after 102 minutes to seal victory.
The defeat now leaves Xavi’s side ten points adrift of Madrid, effectively ending their title challenge. It also comes after they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals in a 4-2 defeat by Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday. That makes it 3 losses in five critical games with the other loss coming in the final of the Spanish Super Cup to their bitter rivals Real Madrid.
In the span of two weeks, their hope for a trophy has vanished with their only hope being a long-shot chance at the Champions League.
Xavi announce his exit from Barcelona: Xavi shocks the world
Xavi announced his exit from Barcelona at his press conference immediately after the game, the Spaniard shocked the world by announcing he would be stepping down from his role at the end of the season.
“I want to announce that on June 30 I will no longer continue as the coach at Barca,” Xavi said.
“I think the situation needs to change course, and as a culer [Barcelona fan], I cannot allow the current situation.”
No one expected this development from him as many still believed he would be the man who would take Barcelona back to the top. There has always been a feeling that he would be given as much time as possible from the board and his job never seemed to be in danger.
He, however, went on to explain that the job had become unpleasant for him.
“To explain a bit better, the feeling of being a Barca coach is unpleasant, it’s cruel. You feel that often there is a lack of respect, you feel they do not value your work, and this wears you down terribly. It affects your mental health. I am a positive person but the energy goes down to a point where you think that there is no sense.”
Xavi added that he made the decision ‘several days ago,’ and although the hard defeat to Villarreal set the scene for him to announce the decision, he ‘would have made’ it soon enough.
This will bring his tenure at his boyhood club to an end less than three years after being appointed having won the league title and Super Cup in his first full season.
Why he couldn’t implement tiki-taka at Barcelona ?
Xavi promised the fans when he was appointed that he would implement the ‘Barca DNA’ which essentially meant going back to playing exciting football much like Cruyff and Guardiola’s teams. This hasn’t happened though as fans will tell you. Instead, his team are methodical and can sometimes beat be described as ‘boring’
Xavi began by making the team harder to break down and score against, creating a strong team that only conceded twenty league goals last season. In a battle of all-out attack and football quality, Barca were always going to lose to the likes of Madrid and therefore Xavi had to adapt.
Sometimes working with misfits, the Spaniard had to construct a team that could win and he quickly realized he couldn’t do that with the style of football he wanted. Add to the fact that he had an unreliable attack and he had to make his team more pragmatic and solid which is exactly what he accomplished. Maybe with time and the right players, he may have been able to take them back to exciting football but we’ll never know.
What next for Barcelona?
The club next face Osasuna on Wednesday before getting their Champions League round of 16 tie underway on 21st February.