Barcelona have confirmed that Xavi Hernandez will return to Camp Nou and succeed the sacked Ronald Koeman as coach.
Barcelona introduced within the early hours of Saturday that Xavi has agreed to a contract by way of to 2024 after the previous Spain midfielder was launched from his contract at Qatari membership Al-Sadd.
“FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Xavi Hernandez for him to become first team coach for the rest of the current season and two more seasons,” Barcelona said in a statement headlined “Welcome back home, Xavi!”.
“Xavi Hernandez, a youth team product at Barça, has left his current club, Al-Sadd of Qatar, after talks held over the last few days with the owners of the club.”
“It wasn’t goodbye, it was ‘see you soon,'” Xavi mentioned in a video addressed to the followers. “The Camp Nou has all the time been my house,
“You’re my fans, my people, the club that I love the most. And now, I’m coming home. See you soon, Culers. Forca Barca!”
Later on Saturday, Xavi instructed Barca TV:””Well I’ve superb emotions. I’m actually excited to be right here. I’ve come again house so I’m actually excited to begin to know the gamers, to speak with them.
“This was my dream and now the dream has come true. So it is essential for me, after all it is a massive problem however I’m prepared. We are prepared, all of the technical employees begin instantly with coaching and to speak to the gamers so I’m actually joyful to be right here in Barcelona.
“We need the fans of course. We need the supporters. We will try and do our best to make them happy and this is the idea. We will work really hard to do everything to make them happy and this is the point. I’m really proud. I am really proud to be a supporter of Barcelona and now I’m in charge as the coach so I’m really excited and we need them. This is the message for them.”
Al Sadd had launched an announcement on Friday morning confirming Xavi’s departure.
“The Al Sadd administration has agreed on Xavi’s move to Barcelona after the payment of the release clause stipulated in the contract,” the assertion learn. “We have agreed on cooperation with Barcelona sooner or later.
“Xavi is an important part of Al-Sadd’s history and we wish him success. Xavi informed us a few days ago of his desire to go to Barcelona at this particular time, because of the critical stage his hometown club is going through, and we understand this and decided not to stand in his way.”
The Qatari membership revealed a video of Xavi saying goodbye to his gamers throughout a crew meal. Several gamers wished him a fond farewell within the video.
“All the best. Muchas gracias, Xavi,” defender Tariq Salman mentioned.
“It is a good step in his career,” former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla added, “and naturally we’ll miss him lots.”
Barca vice chairman Rafa Yuste and director of soccer Mateu Alemany travelled to Qatar this week to shut the deal, with negotiations accelerating with Al Sadd after Wednesday’s 3-3 draw with Al-Duhail. Xavi mentioned goodbye to the Al Sadd gamers after that sport earlier than imploring the 2 golf equipment to “come to an agreement” given his need to return to Barca.
Koeman was fired last week after a 1-0 defeat to Rayo Vallecano (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.) left Barca ninth within the league desk. The loss was Barca’s third of their previous 4 LaLiga matches, and so they had received simply certainly one of their first three Champions League fixtures, shedding 3-0 towards Bayern Munich and Benfica, earlier than beating Dynamo Kiev.
Koeman needed to take care of big monetary issues and the lack of star participant Lionel Messi, however president Joan Laporta was by no means satisfied by him. Laporta first needed to alter supervisor in the summertime and again in September after the defeat to Benfica, however he was persuaded to stay with Koeman, given the dearth of options. However, after a Clasico defeat to Real Madrid and the loss to Rayo, the president determined to behave.
Koeman, who was appointed by earlier president Josep Maria Bartomeu in August 2020, received the Copa del Rey with Barca final season and led them to a third-place end within the league. They exited the Champions League by the hands of Paris Saint-Germain within the spherical of 16.
Xavi was not thought of prepared by Laporta in the summertime, partly due to his lack of top-level teaching expertise and due to his hyperlinks to rival Victor Font’s marketing campaign to develop into Barca president earlier this yr. The want for change and the dearth of options pressured Laporta to alter his thoughts, although, with the president restoring contact with Xavi in latest weeks.
Xavi, who made 767 appearances for Barca, was a key participant on the membership throughout Laporta’s first spell as president between 2003 and 2010, and the 2 have all the time maintained a very good relationship.
In his quick time in control of Al Sadd, Xavi has received seven trophies, together with one league title. They are unbeaten in 36 video games within the Qatar Stars League, relationship again to final season.
Speaking in a news conference on Oct. 29, Laporta mentioned: “My opinion about Xavi as a supervisor is he’s in a studying course of, evolving, I’ve actually good references from individuals who know him higher than me in that method.
“I have a great relationship with Xavi, I have been speaking with him in the last month, I know his opinion about this squad, what he thinks has to happen. We talk as two friends, and in this case, my opinion is a really good one.”
Despite beforehand rejecting the job when supplied it by Bartomeu after Valverde was sacked in January 2020, Xavi has by no means hidden his need to return to Barca in a training capability.
Laporta had been eager to provide him the B crew job first, however Xavi made it clear that he felt he had already outgrown that position and that he was prepared to teach the primary crew.
“The idea is to coach Barcelona, I have never hidden that,” he mentioned just lately. “That’s my objective and my dream. I don’t know if it will happen or not, if they will need me or not.”
Xavi takes over Barca with the crew at its lowest ebb in over a decade. They have received simply 4 of their opening 11 video games in LaLiga and threat lacking out on the knockout phases of the Champions League for the primary time in 20 years in the event that they fail to beat Benfica on Nov. 23.
The crew has struggled to maneuver on from the lack of Messi to PSG, with the membership’s gross debt of €1.4 billion making it not possible to spend money on new gamers.
Therefore, like Koeman earlier than him, Xavi should work with a crop of gifted children, together with Spain internationals Ansu Fati,
He can even must oversee the ultimate years of the careers of gamers who had been beforehand his teammates, with Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets nonetheless enjoying key roles on the membership.