Xavi signs off with win, warns next Barça coach: It’s a difficult club

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After ending his time as Barcelona coach with a 2-1 win against Sevilla on Sunday, Xavi Hernández said he believes his work has been undervalued and that his replacement will have a difficult job on their hands.

Goals from Robert Lewandowski and Fermín López sandwiched an effort from Youssef En-Nesyri as Barça finished the LaLiga campaign with three points just two days after the club announced Xavi would be sacked at the end of the season.

“I don’t think the work we have done has been sufficiently valued considering the adverse situation we came into,” Xavi told DAZN after beating Sevilla.

“Barça were ninth in the table when we arrived at the end of 2021. We finished second. Then, in the first full season [in charge], we won two trophies [LaLiga and the Spanish Supercopa].

“This year has not been at the level required, but it’s come down to details in several key games. It’s a shame. I am sad, but this is the job of a coach.”

ESPN has revealed that Hansi Flick will replace Xavi, with the Germán coach’s appointment expected to be announced in the coming days.

“They have to know it is a difficult situation, because Barcelona is a difficult club, but also because of the adverse financial situation, above all [LaLiga’s] financial fair play rules,” Xavi said when asked if he had any advice for his successor.

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“It won’t be easy at all. They will suffer and they will need patience because it’s a really difficult job. The only thing that can save them is winning, whether they have been part of the club or not [previously].

“I have been looked at through a magnifying glass and a certain level of expectations were generated, because I was part of Barça’s best-ever era, which has played against me.”

Xavi initially announced in January that he would step down this summer, but he reversed his decision in April before being fired in a meeting with club president Joan Laporta on Friday.

The manager insists he wanted to remain in the job, despite his doubts in January, and refused to reveal the reasons given to him for his dismissal.

“It’s not for me to explain the motives, the president has to do that,” Xavi continued. “I just have to accept and respect them. The decision is made and there is no looking back. The club is above any person. I wanted to stay on. I get [the decision], I respect it, but it is a shame. The feelings are contradictory because the work has been positive despite not winning trophies this season. I thought we were on a good path and I still think that.

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“But this is football, decisions have to be made. I am happy, proud and satisfied with what we have done: 2.5 years and two trophies in the adverse, difficult situation the club is in, that’s the reality.

“I have not been able to work with calm. We asked for stability one month ago when we decided to stay. We thought by staying on we had achieved that and we were hungry to work hard, but this is the life of a manager.”

Xavi said he is “open” to anything in the future regarding the next step in his career, but that in the short-term he needs to “rest and be with my family.”

The former midfielder, who made more than 700 appearances for Barça as a player, replaced Ronald Koeman in 2021 and steered the team from ninth to second in his first season in charge.

A first LaLiga title since 2019 followed last term, but Barça have failed to kick on this year, ending the season trophy-less as they finished second in the league and exited the Champions League and the Copa del Rey at the quarterfinal stage.

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