Barcelona’s controversial sacking of Xavi Hernandez: A disrespectful farewell to a Club Legend

Barcelona have sacked Xavi Hernandez after initially convincing him to continue at the club four weeks back.

Xavi Hernandez was all set to part ways with Barcelona at the end of the season after announcing his departure in January. But, the board held meetings with him and convinced him to continue at the club. However, just four weeks after Xavi announced that he had reversed his decision to leave, the Catalan giants have now sacked their former skipper.

In terms of a sporting decision, it could still end up being the right one. But, the manner in which things have unfolded over the past month is surely not the ideal way to say goodbye to someone who is not just their manager but a club legend who has guided them to numerous titles back in the day as a player.

Xavi’s time at Barcelona: The chronology

After the departure of Ronald Koeman, everyone associated with Barcelona wanted Xavi to take charge as the next manager, and that is exactly what happened. Their former Barcelona skipper started his reign back in November 2021.

Xavi managed to steady the ship and despite all the financial struggles, they ended up finishing second in the 2021/22 La Liga season. In his first full season in charge of the club, the former Spanish international guided them to the league title. While things on the European front were not that great, the success in La Liga was considered a major step in rebuilding the club.

On the back of an impressive second season, Xavi was handed a contract extension until 2025 on September 21, 2023. Unfortunately, things did not really go according to plan for them in the first half of the 2023/season.

Following a 5-3 defeat at the hands of Villarreal, Xavi announced that he would be leaving the club at the end of the season on January 27, 2024. But, things started to improve for the Spanish club in the second half and their impressive run in the Champions League resulted in speculations of him continuing at the club.

The board managed to convince Xavi to continue at the club following multiple meetings with the Spanish manager. On April 24, 2024, the former Barcelona skipper announced that he had reversed his decision to leave the club and that he would continue to serve until the end of his contract.

While Xavi was set to continue as their manager, the tension between Joan Laporta and Xavi slowly grew. The manager’s statement where he said that Barcelona will not be able to reach the levels of Real Madrid or other top European clubs next season did not go down well with the president.

Just four weeks after convincing Xavi to continue at the club, on May 24, 2024, the club announced that they would part ways with the 44-year-old manager after their final game against Sevilla on Sunday (May 26).

Why did Barcelona sack Xavi?

Joan Laporta never really gave Xavi the full-backing, and the club president was never really sure about having their former skipper as their manager. But, with the entire Barcelona fanbase wanting him to take over, Laporta decided to go ahead with it.

Winning the La Liga title in his first full season in charge did help Xavi’s cause as the president started to feel positive about the appointment. But, a trophyless season this time out has resulted in everything collapsing.

The major trigger behind his sacking was the statements made by the former Spanish international. Xavi stated that given the kind of situation Barcelona are in, they would not be able to compete with Real Madrid next year. And, not just Los Blancos, they won’t be able to stand tall against other European giants as well.

Laporta felt betrayed by the statement as Xavi had assured him that they could reach the levels needed next season and compete for all major titles. Apart from the not-so-good relationship with the president, Xavi’s tactical approach and his relations with certain players have also played a part in his dismissal.

Was sacking Xavi the right thing to do?

Parting ways with Xavi was indeed the right thing to do as the club had made little progress under him. Despite the success that they had in La Liga last season under his guidance, a lot has changed since then. Their dominance was based on a rock-solid defence, which was nowhere to be seen in the 2023/24 season. They were tactically outclassed by opponents on quite a few occasions.

Losing thrice to Real Madrid in the same season along with the defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League made it quite clear that there was a need for a change. With Hansi Flick all set to take over, things might improve for Barcelona as a team.

Not treating a club legend right, thus becoming a laughing stock

The manner in which Barcelona parted ways with Xavi was not the ideal way. He is not just any other manager; the 44-year-old came up the youth ranks of the club, played for their first team for years and even led them to numerous titles.

Despite all that he had done with the club, he has been treated in the worst possible way. Xavi had already decided to leave the club because he was aware of the fact that the president was confident about him being in charge and was not backing him.

When Xavi had already made up his mind, the board decided to convince him to continue and once they had managed that, they ended up sacking him just a month later. In the process, Barcelona will also part with a sizeable sum to Xavi’s severance package.

All in all, their ridiculous decision-making has made the Blaugrana a laughing stock, with Joan Laporta embarrassing their fans and stakeholders alike. Things could have been handled better and given the manner in which club legends Ronald Koeman, Lionel Messi and Xavi have left, Barcelona fans will surely not be happy with Laporta’s management.

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