Barcelona manager Xavi delivered some parting shots in a brutally honest press conference after he confirmed he will leave the Catalan club at the end of the 2023/24 season.
The 44-year-old, appointed as the manager of Barcelona in November 2021 following the departure of Ronald Koeman, has won 76 games out of a possible 122 during his turbulent reign at the Camp Nou.
He helped the Spanish club to a historic La Liga title last season, pipping rivals Real Madrid to the post by an impressive ten points, but their lack of progress in the Champions League has been a huge talking point.
That being said, many were surprised on Friday night, when Xavi announced his decision to step down from his role at the Catalan club following a 5-3 defeat to Villarreal.
In a brutally honest post-match press conference, the former Barcelona midfielder clarified his feelings.
“I will leave Barcelona in June,” he said. “We have reached a point of no return. It’s time for change. As a Culé, I think that it’s time to leave. I spoke with the board and the club today. I will leave on the 30th of June.
“Everything will be calmer now, we can compete for the Champions League… at least with this decision you [the press] won’t kill me anymore. The club will improve with this decision.”
Xavi went on to mention Sir Alex Ferguson, who enjoyed a trophy-laden 26-year spell as Manchester United manager before retiring in 2013, and explained why that lengthy reign will “never” happen at Barcelona.
“The feeling of being a Barca coach is unpleasant, it is cruel,” he added.
“You feel that they disrespect you many times, that your work is not valued and it is a terrible drain on mental health and 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,” he continued. “We have to change the dynamics. It is impossible for there to be a Barca [Sir Alex] 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 added: “This has happened to every Barcelona manager after some time. You end up leaving because it’s not worth it to continue.
“I will rest for a bit after this season. My family have been suffering a lot with me in this tenure. I want to be with them.”
🚨 Xavi: “You asked me many times that if I’d be the Sir Alex Ferguson of Barça… the truth is that it will NEVER happen here”.
“You guys won’t allow it — being Barça coach is so difficult”.
“You see how they kill you, they criticize you, it affects you”. pic.twitter.com/tDvo5qmB73
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 27, 2024
It was an evening to forget for Barcelona, as goals from Gerard Moreno, Ilias Akhomach, Goncalo Guedes, Alexander Sorloth and Jose Luis Morales handedVillarrealall three points at the Montjuïc Olympic Stadium.
They currently sit ten points behind league leaders Real Madrid, who have lost just one game in 21 so far this season.