Barcelona fires manager, soccer legend Xavi after three seasons

FC Barcelona head coach Xavi led the club to a La Liga title in 2022-23. Photo by Enric Fontcuberta/EPA-EFE
FC Barcelona head coach Xavi led the club to a La Liga title in 2022-23. Photo by Enric Fontcuberta/EPA-EFE

May 24 (UPI) -- Barcelona fired manager Xavi after three seasons, including their runner-up La Liga finish in 2023-24, the Spanish soccer club announced Friday.

"FC Barcelona wishes to thank Xavi for his work as coach, as well as for his inimitable career as a player and as team captain, and wishes him every future success in the world," Barcelona said in a news release.


Barcelona said a new "first team structure" will be announced in the next few days.

Xavi will coach Barcelona for the final time in its La Liga season finale against Sevilla on Sunday in Seville. Barcelona president Joan Laporta informed Xavi of his dismissal Friday at the club's Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training facility, with other franchise officials attending.

Xavi, who signed a new contract extension in September, announced in January that he would step down at the end of the season. He then said in April that he planned to fulfill that contract, which was to expire in 2025.

The 44-year-old managed Saudi Arabian club Al Sadd from 2019 to 2021. He took over as Barcelona coach in November 2021, following the firing of Ronald Koeman. Barcelona finished the 2021-22 campaign 21-7-10 in La Liga, finishing second behind rival Real Madrid.


They went on to win La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup a season later under Xavi. The reigning La Liga champions posted a 25-5-7 record through 37 matches this season. They sit 12 points behind Real Madrid (29-1-7), who already clinched their record-extending 36th La Liga crown.

Xavi, a legendary midfielder, won eight La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns in more than 500 appearances as a Barcelona player.

He also appeared in 133 games for Spain, winning a World Cup with the national team in 2010.

He was Barcelona teammates with Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta, Thierry Henry, Samuel Eto'o, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Luis Figo, among other soccer legends.

He also played alongside several players that became fellow managers, including Manchester City's Pep Guardiola, Paris Saint-German's Luis Enrique and Cadiz's Mauricio Pellegrino.

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