Barcelona plan to hire Hansi Flick as coach after telling Xavi his time is up

Former player described manager’s job as ‘cruel and unpleasant’ when he resigned in January

Barcelona intend to make Hansi Flick their new coach after announcing that Xavi Hernández will leave after the season’s final game on Sunday. The president, Joan Laporta, informed Xavi of his fate in a meeting at the training ground on Friday.

Barcelona have been talking to Flick for months and although the German’s camp denied there had been a meeting in London this week with the coach, his agent Pini Zahavi and the club’s sporting director Deco, an agreement has been put in place for the former Bayern Munich and Germany manager to take over. The B team coach, Rafa Márquez, has been suggested as an alternative.

The final decision on the coach had been scheduled for a meeting to be held after the final game of the season, at Sevilla on Sunday night. But a little after midday on Friday, Laporta visited the club’s San Joan Despi HQ, where he met with Xavi, Deco, the vice-president Rafa Yuste and Xavi’s staff.

“The president of FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, has informed Xavi Hernández that he will not continue as coach of the first team in the 2024-25 season,” a statement said. “The meeting took place at the Joan Gamper training complex, with the presence of sporting vice-president Rafa Yuste, the sporting director Anderson Luis de Souza, Deco, Xavi and his assistants Oscar Hernández and Sergio Alegre.


“Barcelona wish to thank Xavi for his work as coach, which is added to his unequalled career as a player and captain, and wish him all the luck in the world. He will take charge of his last game as first team coach this Sunday in Seville. In the coming days, Barcelona will communicate the new structure of the first team.”

Xavi had publicly said he had every intention of continuing. He had resigned on January 27th and performed a U-turn on April 24th after being convinced to stay.

Despite reports last week that Laporta had decided to sack him, and the president’s refusal to meet with him, Xavi insisted “nothing had changed”.

During a week of intense speculation and repeated leaks, some of them strategic, there had been silence from Laporta and Deco, publicly and privately.

Xavi has always said that money would not be a problem and that he would walk away when his time at the club comes to an end. The terms of his contract mean his sacking could cost Barcelona about €20m (£17m).

Xavi described the Barcelona manager’s job as “cruel and unpleasant” when he resigned in January, at a time when results were poor and the prospect of being sacked was increasingly real. He said he would continue to the end of the season, a formula that Laporta said he accepted “because it’s Xavi proposing it and he’s a Barcelona legend”, but that the decision was irreversible, even if they won the Champions League.

But as Barcelona’s results improved and as they struggled to secure a replacement, the president, vice-president and sporting director publicly said they would try to convince Xavi to stay. The coach’s message, although evasive, became increasingly receptive to doing so. On April 24th, they announced that he was continuing at least until 2025 after a meeting at the club’s training ground and then at Laporta’s home, with the media camped outside, the whole thing played out in public.

At an emotional, celebratory press conference the following morning, Laporta said that all that had been needed was for the two men to look each other in the eye and that it had taken only three minutes. “I was always clear that I wanted Xavi to continue,” he said. “Stability is very important for success.” Exactly a month later, Laporta informed Xavi that he had been sacked. – Guardian