Why did Barcelona sack Xavi?

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • Updated: 29 May 2024 12:46 BST
  • 5 min read
Xavi, Barcelona
© IMAGO/FootballTransfers

Xavi has been sacked by Barcelona, with the club making the news official on 29 May after days of speculation.

Reports Spain, led by the Catalan outlets of RAC1 and Sport, indicated in mid-May that Barca president Joan Laporta came to the decision the 44-year-old midfield legend is no longer the man to take the club forward.

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Time has since proven these reports correct, with Barcelona announcing Xavi's departure now that their season has officially ended.

READ MORE: Xavi BETRAYAL uncovered as Barcelona warned about ‘PROBLEMATIC’ star

This has definitively brought to an end a saga that had been bubbling away since January, when Xavi announced that he would resign in the summer.

In April, he announced he had changed his mind over his original decision and would instead see out his contract until 2025.

Laporta seemed to approve, having begged the coach to change his mind since his resignation was announced.

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Xavi has left Barcelona
© IMAGO - Xavi has left Barcelona

On the field, Barcelona did fine post-January. The Blaugrana finished second in LaLiga and reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League - adequate outcomes in line with the minimum expected for the team at the beginning of the season.

With the credit of last season’s title still in the bank, Xavi might still have expected his job to be safe.

So what’s gone wrong?

What did Xavi say to anger Barcelona?

The tipping point for Laporta was Xavi’s announcement prior to Barcelona's game with Almeria that it will be impossible for Barcelona to compete with Real Madrid and Europe’s major clubs while still in the grip of a financial crisis.

“Now we are not in the same conditions with clubs with better [Financial] Fair Play. The fan should know. It doesn’t mean that we don’t try to achieve the goals,” he said.

For Laporta, this is a very personal issue. He has been on a crusade to get the club back on a sound financial footing since regaining the presidency from Jose Maria Bartomeu in 2021. It is the defining aspect of his reign.

He has taken some big risks in addressing the issue, and these have been controversial. He has pulled ‘financial levers’, which is a friendly way of saying he has been selling off long-term assets of the club in a bid to stabilise the situation.

It is a high-risk policy given the future of the club is based upon it. If it works, he will be seen as Barcelona's saviour, if not, the legacy of his outstanding first stint leading the club from 2003-10 will be tarnished.

Joan Laporta's legacy is on the line
© IMAGO - Joan Laporta's legacy is on the line

So for Xavi to admit that the club is still in the grip of serious problems after three years has likely been seen as a slight on the job he has performed.

AS reports that Laporta wants a coach who is outwardly optimistic about the future, which is a condition Xavi does not fulfil. Of course, it helps that an optimistic coach reflects better on the work the president is doing…

Furthermore, it is stated that Laporta feels he has given Xavi good players to work with, but they have not been used properly.

But while Laporta might finally have been pushed over the edge, it would be wrong to characterise this as a personal decision.

’More politics than football’

It was reported weeks ago that Barcelona’s board unanimously wanted Xavi to leave, and that the president shielded him. Unfortunately for the coach, once his last line of defence was down, he had no one to protect him.

Relevo states: “’At Barcelona right now, there is more politics than football,’ they say.

“Xavi's continuity never had the full support of Barca's board. Those close to Laporta kept telling him to find an alternative.

“It was after Girona game [a 4-2 defeat on 4 May] that doubts about Xavi again reappeared. Laporta, who was present in a box in Montivíli, could not contain his anger and screamed in frustration after the match.”

After the Girona game, Xavi did seem to hint trouble was brewing as he said: “There will be a debate on my future.”

Now, the arguments are settled. Laporta has been won over by the board’s thinking that Xavi is not the man to lead Barcelona in 2024/25, with the myriad of reasons as much political as they are footballing.

Now the question appears to be: who follows Xavi in the Barcelona hotseat? Hansi Flick is currently the leading candidate.

Read more about: La Liga, Barcelona

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