Xavi announces Barcelona exit immediately after conceding five goals at home to Villarreal


Xavi has announced that he will step down as Barcelona head coach at the end of the season after seeing his side thrashed 5-3 by Villarreal in La Liga. Pressure has been mounting on the club icon to improve results despite him guiding the club to a shock league title last term.

The Spaniard, who appeared 767 times for Barca as a player, delivered the news immediately after the defeat. He said that his decision was in the best interests of the club.

"Before you ask me the pertinent questions, I want to announce that as of June 30, I will not continue as Barca coach,” Xavi opened his press conference by saying.

The former midfielder added: "We have been talking about it with [president Joan] Laporta and with the sports area and, as a cule, I think that the club needs a change of dynamic. Thinking about the club and the players I think they will free themselves and will be calmer.

“Thinking as a club man I think, ‘The best thing is to leave on June 30’. That said, I will give my best in the remaining four months, I think we can have a good season and I hope the dynamic changes.”

Xavi then took a subtle dig at the media, claiming that no Barcelona manager will ever enjoy a tenure as long as Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26 years at Manchester United due to the scrutiny. He continued: "The feeling of being a Barca coach is unpleasant, it is cruel.

“You feel that they disrespect you many times, that your work is not valued and it is a terrible drain on mental health, mood, I am a very positive guy but the energy is going down to the point that you say that it makes no sense to continue.

"It has happened to all the coaches who have passed by. We have to change the dynamics. It is impossible for there to be a Barca Ferguson, it is very difficult. We have to change directions and dynamics and now is the time. Unfair? I don't know, I move from the heart and when nothing makes sense it is time to act and make decisions."

Xavi insists that his decision is irreversible and will not depend on an improvement in the club's La Liga or Champions League performance. Intriguingly, he had not told the club's squad before announcing his intention to step down to the media.

Barca have suffered a horror title defence and their defeat against Villarreal was their third of the campaign. Xavi's side are third in the table and sit 10 points behind Real Madrid and eight behind surprise title challengers Girona.

Xavi guided the club to the top of La Liga last season despite working with a limited budget caused by strict financial restrictions being imposed on the Spanish giants. However, they were dumped out of the Champions League in the group stages before exiting the Europa League at the first hurdle, defeated by Man Utd.

Barca capitulated against Villarreal on Saturday night. They led 3-2 until the 84th minute, when Goncalo Guedes equalised. Some extremely poor defending then allowed former Crystal Palace forward Alexander Sorloth to score a 99th-minute winner, before Jose Luis Morales added gloss to the scoreline three minutes later.

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