Xavi Hernández announces he will step down as Barcelona head coach at the end of the season

Following Barcelona’s defeat at home to Villarreal on Sunday, Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernández has revealed he will step down from his position at the end of the season.

Barcelona’s collapse after good start

Having begun the 2023-24 campaign in fine fashion, the reigning LaLiga champions have tailed off badly in recent months and have fallen 10 points adrift of Clásico rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table. In the last few weeks, Barça suffered a 4-1 Spanish Super Cup final thrashing to Los Blancos and were eliminated from the Copa del Rey in the quarter-finals by Athletic Club on Wednesday, although they do have a Champions League Round-of-16 tie against Napoli on the horizon.

The club’s recent struggles have principally been brought about by a defensive collapse, epitomised by Sunday’s 5-3 loss to Villarreal, a game which they were 3-2 ahead in with just six minutes left to play. Barcelona have conceded 24 goals in just 11 competitive games, including nine in two fixtures this week.

What did Xavi say about stepping down as head coach?

After keeping the media waiting following the game at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Xavi eventually headed to the press room and revealed his decision to step down, seemingly driven by his feelings as a Barça fan as much as head coach.

“Before you ask me any questions about the game, I would like to announce that on 30 June, I will leave my position as Barcelona head coach. It’s a decision I have made with the president, Rafa Yuste. The situation calls for a change of direction, and as a Barça fan, this situation cannot continue. I believe the club needs a change of dynamic. As a fan, for the well-being of the players, I think they will be relieved. We’ve been playing under a lot of tension. For the sake of the board, it’s better for me to leave. I will give my best. I believe all of this will help change the dynamic. This is the message I would like to convey. I decided a while ago, I just had to find the right moment.

We’ll have more on this breaking story as it develops.

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