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Xavi: Barcelona manager to leave at end of season

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Xavi looking down during a Barcelona game
Xavi scored 85 goals in 767 appearances for Barcelona between 1998 and 2015

Barcelona manager Xavi says he will step down at the end of the season.

The former Barcelona and Spain midfielder took charge in November 2021 after leaving Qatari side Al Sadd.

He guided them to the Spanish title in his first full season in charge in 2022-23, but Saturday’s 5-3 home defeat by Villarreal leaves them 10 points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

“I think the situation needs to change course,” said the 44-year-old. “I cannot allow the current situation.”

Xavi, who won 25 honours during an illustrious playing career at Barcelona, will officially step down on 30 June despite still having a year left on his contract.

The 2010 World Cup winner said this month he would “pack his bags” if his players lost faith in him following a 4-1 defeat by rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

Barca responded with back-to-back wins, but then went out of the Copa del Rey with defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Thursday before slipping further behind in the title race at Villarreal.

They have progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will play Italian club Napoli in February.

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