Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

Barcelona parts ways with Xavi one month after coach reversed decision to step down

Sport

Barcelona parts ways with Xavi one month after coach reversed decision to step down
Sport

Sport

Barcelona parts ways with Xavi one month after coach reversed decision to step down

2024-05-25 00:15 Last Updated At:00:21

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — First, he wanted out. Then he wanted to stay. Finally, Barcelona decided enough is enough and parted ways with coach Xavi Hernandez.

One month after Xavi said he would continue as coach despite a disappointing season, the club told the former midfield great it did not want him back.

In the latest and most likely final twist to a bumpy season, Barcelona announced on Friday that it was making a coaching change for next season.

The club made the announcement after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and other senior figures at the team training ground. Laporta “informed Xavi Hernández that he will not be continuing as first team coach in the 2024-25 season,” the club said.

Xavi led Barcelona to the Spanish league title last season but his team has struggled this campaign, which will finish without a title and a distant second to champion Real Madrid.

Xavi said in January he wanted to leave the club this summer and not complete the last year of his contract. In April, the 44-year-old Xavi changed his mind after his players showed him they believed in the team’s potential and improved their performances.

During the interlude when it seemed Xavi was the one who wanted out, Barcelona sports director Deco said the club was not looking for a new coach. And when Xavi said he was going to stay, an emotional Laporta gave a news conference with his coach to tell Barcelona fans they must be “proud” to have Xavi in charge.

But Laporta was reportedly displeased by Xavi’s recent comments that Barcelona’s poor financial situation would make it nearly impossible to compete against Real Madrid and Europe’s other top clubs.

After the rumors started in local media that Laporta was considering firing the former midfielder, Xavi said he was motivated to continue coaching his boyhood team and was convinced he could still help it win titles.

As recently as last weekend, Xavi said, “I have the support of the president and Deco, our sports director.”

Xavi bade farewell to Barcelona fans on his Instagram page. He had no ill words for Laporta and thanked the executive, players and staff for their support.

“Beyond being a player and coach, first and foremost I am a Barça supporter and I only want the best for the club,” he wrote. “This season has not gone the way we would have liked, but we gave it our all and helped foster a new generation of players from La Masia (training academy) that have thrilled our fans.”

Spanish and German media speculated former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick as Xavi’s replacement.

As a player, Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 after helping the club win 25 titles, including four Champions Leagues and eight Spanish leagues. He was also key to Spain’s streak of titles when it won the 2010 World Cup and European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

Laporta brought Xavi back from his only prior coaching job in Qatar in November 2021 to lead his rebuilding project of a club that had just lost Messi amid a financial crisis.

The following summer, the club sold off future television revenues and other club assets, which Laporta dubbed financial “levers,” to sign Robert Lewandowski and other players. Xavi was able to win the club's first titles since Messi's departure and the future looked bright.

This season, however, Barcelona lost all three clasicos against Madrid and was thumped twice by upstart Catalan rival Girona, losing both of their league matchups 4-2. It also lost in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.

Whoever takes over for Xavi will have the tricky task of managing a team with bright young talents like Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsí, Fermin López and the injured Gavi Páez but very limited financial resources.

After flirting with bankruptcy under Laporta's predecessor, Barcelona is still struggling financially and has had its salary cap greatly reduced in recent seasons. It can only spend some 204 million euros ($221 million) on players and coaching staff, including salaries and transfer payments, compared to Madrid’s 727 million euros ($788 million).

Barcelona has tried to sell Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong and is likely to look to shed salaries. So it is not unthinkable that Lewandowski or goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen could be for sale.

Xavi’s last game in charge will be on Sunday at Sevilla on the final day of the league.

Sevilla coach Quique Sánchez Flores said on Friday he would give Xavi “a big hug” when their teams meet.

“I shouldn’t say this," Sánchez Flores said, "but look how poorly Barcelona treats its club legends."

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

FILE - Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez celebrates after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Olimpic Lluis Companys stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Dec. 3, 2023. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The Spanish club made the announcement Friday May 24, 2024 after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and several other senior figures at the team's training ground. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort, File)

FILE - Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez celebrates after the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Olimpic Lluis Companys stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Dec. 3, 2023. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The Spanish club made the announcement Friday May 24, 2024 after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and several other senior figures at the team's training ground. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort, File)

FILE - Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez looks out onto the pitch before a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Betis and Barcelona at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain, on Jan. 21, 2024. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The Spanish club made the announcement Friday May 24, 2024 after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and several other senior figures at the team's training ground. (AP Photo/Jose Breton, File)

FILE - Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez looks out onto the pitch before a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Betis and Barcelona at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville, Spain, on Jan. 21, 2024. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The Spanish club made the announcement Friday May 24, 2024 after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and several other senior figures at the team's training ground. (AP Photo/Jose Breton, File)

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez, center, gives instructions during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Olimpic Lluis Companys stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez, center, gives instructions during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano at the Olimpic Lluis Companys stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

PARIS (AP) — A legendary French priest and a life-long advocate of the homeless was accused of committing acts that would amount to “sexual assault or sexual harassment,” the international foundation he established said in a statement Wednesday.

Abbé Pierre, who died in 2007, was one of France’s most beloved public figures. The founder of the international Emmaus Community for the poor, Abbé Pierre had served as France’s conscience since the 1950s, when he persuaded Parliament to pass a law — still on the books — forbidding landlords to evict tenants during winter.

Several women have accused the late priest of sexual assault or harassment between the end of the 1970s and 2005, his foundation said in a statement. It explained that it is making public the allegations of seven women, including one who was a minor at the time of abuse, after reviewing the report of an expert firm, which specializes in violence prevention, that was commissioned to listen to women's testimonies, and analyze them.

"The Emmaus Community is making public the acts that may amount to sexual assault or sexual harassment, committed by Abbé Pierre," the statement said. It added that several other women had “suffered comparable acts” of sexual abuse, but were unable to be heard. The alleged victims were employees, volunteers with the foundation or some of its member organizations, or young women in Abbé Pierre’s personal entourage, the statement also said.

The foundation has set up a confidential system for other potential victims to come forward, for “collecting testimonies and providing support to people who were victims of or witnessed unacceptable behavior on the part of Abbé Pierre,” the statement also said.

In 2021, an independent commission on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church estimated that some 330,000 children were sexually abused over 70 years by priests or other church-related figures in France.

FILE - French priest Abbe Pierre prepares to drive away after making various speeches to volunteer helpers who help the homeless in the streets of Paris, on Feb. 2, 1954. Several women have accused late French priest Abbe Pierre of sexual assault or harassment, his foundation said Wednesday July 17, 2024. Abbe Pierre was one of France's most beloved public figures and a lifelong advocate for the homeless. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - French priest Abbe Pierre prepares to drive away after making various speeches to volunteer helpers who help the homeless in the streets of Paris, on Feb. 2, 1954. Several women have accused late French priest Abbe Pierre of sexual assault or harassment, his foundation said Wednesday July 17, 2024. Abbe Pierre was one of France's most beloved public figures and a lifelong advocate for the homeless. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - Abbe Pierre addresses journalists in his home of Alfortville, east of Paris, on Aug. 5, 2005. Several women have accused late French priest Abbe Pierre of sexual assault or harassment, his foundation said Wednesday July 17, 2024. Abbe Pierre was one of France's most beloved public figures and a lifelong advocate for the homeless. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

FILE - Abbe Pierre addresses journalists in his home of Alfortville, east of Paris, on Aug. 5, 2005. Several women have accused late French priest Abbe Pierre of sexual assault or harassment, his foundation said Wednesday July 17, 2024. Abbe Pierre was one of France's most beloved public figures and a lifelong advocate for the homeless. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Recommended Articles