Photo courtesy of Alex Caparros via Getty Images, 2022

After a disappointing 5-3 loss at home to Villareal on January 27th, Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez announced that he would leave the club at the end of the season.

 “I had decided to leave a few days ago, but I think now is the right time to announce it to help reduce the tension that exists around the club. A change of dynamic is needed,” the Spaniard told the media on Saturday. It is likely that Xavi would have made this decision after the loss against Real Madrid (4-1) in the Spanish Super Cup on January 14th. This loss against Villareal only precipitated the announcement. 

The comeback of Xavi in January 2021, following Ronald Koeman, was seen as a success. The former Barcelona midfielder is part of the Barcelona Hall of Fame for his services to the club as a player from 1998-2015. Xavi marked a generation by winning 8 La Ligas, 3 Copa Del Reys, 5 Spanish Super Cups, and 4 UEFA Champions League titles during his time as a player. 

Before Xavi’s second homecoming, Barcelona was going through a rough patch on and off the field. The former midfielder took over FC Barcelona during a time of financial crisis that started under Josep Maria Bartomeu’s presidency between 2015 and 2020. The club and the fans had high expectations concerning Xavi’s return because of his status.

Before his arrival to FC Barcelona, Xavi had coached Al Sadd between 2019 and 2021 with whom he won 7 trophies. Following the same path, during his first full season in charge of FC Barcelona, Xavi brought the team back to winning ways with the La Liga title over rivals Real Madrid along with a Spanish Super Cup win over Real Madrid (3-1). The board’s new sporting project was made around Xavi and this success pleased them. The only area for concern was their Champions League run. The Catalan club ended up 3rd in their Champions League group, sending them to the Europa League, for the second consecutive season. They lost 4-3 on aggregate to Manchester United in the play-off round, which got them eliminated from the Europa League too. Despite this, fans were optimistic that next season would see Barcelona back to its prime. 

Unfortunately for Xavi, this season highlights the inconsistency Barcelona has struggled since the 2018/2019 season after Liverpool’s epic comeback in the Champions League, leading to years of failures at the European level. The club sit 3rd in La Liga, 8 points behind league and direct rival Real Madrid and only two points above Atletico Madrid. The team is out of the Copa Del Rey after a tough loss against Bilbao during the quarter finals (4-2) and lost 4-1 to Real Madrid in the Super Cup final. The only hope for Barcelona to avoid a trophyless season is an unlikely miracle in the Champions League, the club made it out of the group stage and will play Napoli in the round of 16. 

Xavi will finish the season with Barcelona but insists that nothing can change his mind, not even a Champions League trophy at the end of the season. As of now, Barcelona’s president Joan Laporta is searching for a potential new coach. Jurgen Klopp, who announced he will leave Liverpool at the end of the season is one of the potential options as well as Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel or Mikel Arteta who is currently coaching Arsenal; but nothing is set in stone.

Freshman Golnar Jalinous is a Contributing Writer. Her email is Sophomore Agathe Vanmassenhove is the Sports Editor. Her email is