FC Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez announced that he will be stepping down from his position as Barcelona coach and manager following a series of losses throughout the current season, prompting backlash from football media and fans.
Xavi had revealed only a few weeks ago that quitting would be an option if things did not look up for the team. Last night, Barcelona faced Villarreal and lost during the last few minutes of the game. A few hours later, Xavi announced that he would be stepping down by June 30.
Xavi was appointed as Barcelona’s coach in 2021 and led the club to two trophy victories throughout his first full season.
He also managed to bring young stars from the training academy and introduce them to the world of football, creating a diverse team of players that have made a difference in the club, specifically amid the injury crisis professional footballers have been suffering from due to the intensity and increase in the number of games Fifa has requested.
His status also brought in star players like Ballon D’or nominee Robert Lewandowski and treble-winner Ilkay Gundogan, adding significant quality to a team that has been depending on younger players, with less experience.
Xavi garnered the support of his players despite the downturn they saw recently. FC Barcelona’s captain Ronald Araujo gave a statement to the press following the Villarreal game: “When Xavi arrived, he had a team that was in the shambles. A team that had lost its DNA, that didn’t play with the philosophy. Xavi came and brought back the identity, the desire, what it means to represent this shirt.”
End of an era
Despite support from his team and the obvious factors that play into Barcelona’s condition, such as limited finances and injuries of its star players, Xavi is adamant about his resignation regardless of the outcome at the end of the season.
“In Barcelona, you always feel like you’re not valued, you’re mistreated — that’s how the club works. From a mental health level, it’s tough too. I’m a positive guy but the battery levels keep running out — and at some point, you realize there’s no point in staying,” Xavi said, dissing the Spanish football media who have been relentless to the club and managed to pressure even the biggest coaches.
Waves of support
Fans of Xavi and the club have taken to social media to express their thoughts following the announcement.
One user said “I wanted Xavi to succeed. And he did in my opinion. He set us on a path for more success. But we broke him. I never wanted someone to succeed as much as I did with Xavi and that feeling won’t be there for the next coach.”
Another said “Xavi Hernandez arrived when Barca were in their worst state in years, put the club back under control, and gave Barca their first La Liga title in 4 years. Thank you legend. You’ll be back.”
It is worth noting that Xavi had played in 767 games as a Barcelona midfielder, resigned, and took on the role of coach in the club of his life. He dedicated all his expertise to guiding young players and building the club from scratch after its golden-era players left, not only to pursue other challenges but to give the club a chance at revival through the transfer money it would get.