Xavi says Barcelona president will have to explain why he won't continue as coach

xavi says barcelona president will have to explain why he won't continue as coach

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez gestures during a press conference in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 25, 2024. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The club made the announcement on Friday after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and other senior figures at the team training ground. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Xavi Hernández said Saturday that he is leaving Barcelona with “a clear conscience” that he did his best after the club decided to part ways with the former player, but that it will be up to president Joan Laporta to explain why he is going.

“These have obviously been tough days, but my conscience is clear,” head coach Xavi said. “I have been here two-and-a-half years. It has not been easy. But I think that we can feel proud of the work we have done.”

xavi says barcelona president will have to explain why he won't continue as coach

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez arrives for a press conference in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 25, 2024. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The club made the announcement on Friday after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and other senior figures at the team training ground. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

In his first news conference since Barcelona announced on Friday that Xavi would not finish the final year of his contract, the 44-year-old said that he will now “take a break” from coaching.

His last game in charge will be at Sevilla on Sunday.

Xavi’s departure comes just one month after he had walked back a previous decision he made in January to leave the club this summer. In April, he said that he had changed his mind because the team was playing better and he believed it could bounce back from a trophy-less campaign.

xavi says barcelona president will have to explain why he won't continue as coach

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez attends a press conference in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 25, 2024. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The club made the announcement on Friday after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and other senior figures at the team training ground. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Laporta had publicly celebrated Xavi’s commitment to stay at that time. But last week the president was reportedly displeased when the head coach spoke openly about how the club’s poor finances would impede it from competing with fierce rival Real Madrid.

xavi says barcelona president will have to explain why he won't continue as coach

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez looks down during a training session in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 25, 2024. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The club made the announcement on Friday after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and other senior figures at the team training ground. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Neither Laporta nor any club official has said why they wanted Xavi to leave, and the head coach did not shed any light on the circumstances of his exit either.

“The president told me his reasons for why he thinks the club needs a change, and I can only respect that. I am a club man,” Xavi said. “We shook hands, hugged and wished one another the best. From now on I will be just another fan.

“He will have to explain his motives.”

Xavi’s only previous coaching job was at a Qatari club before Laporta brought him back to take over at Barcelona in November 2021. He led the team to the Spanish league title last year, its first major trophy since Lionel Messi left, and signed a one-year contract extension in September.

But Barcelona struggled to compete this campaign and it will finish the league a distant second to champion Madrid.

Spanish and German media speculated that former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick would become Xavi’s replacement.

xavi says barcelona president will have to explain why he won't continue as coach

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez arrives for a training session in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 25, 2024. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The club made the announcement on Friday after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and other senior figures at the team training ground. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

Whoever arrives will inherit a team with young talents Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsí and the injured Gavi Páez but with very limited financial resources to sign new players.

xavi says barcelona president will have to explain why he won't continue as coach

Barcelona's head coach Xavi Hernandez gestures during a press conference in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, May 25, 2024. Barcelona says coach Xavi Hernandez is leaving the club at the end of the season. The club made the announcement on Friday after a meeting between club president Joan Laporta, Xavi and other senior figures at the team training ground. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press

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