Monday, November 29, 2021

Barcelona confirm Xavi deal as club legend returns as head coach

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Nov 2021

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Xavi has finally landed his dream job as head coach of Barcelona.

The 41-year-old was confirmed in the role early Saturday, and it will be his first coaching job in Europe after spending the past two and a half years in charge of Qatari side Al Sadd.

Xavi had two years to run on his Al Sadd deal, but Barcelona paid his release clause to allow the Camp Nou legend to replace Ronald Koeman.

He has signed a contract through the end of the 2023-24 season, with the new hire coming as a huge boost to the Catalan giants during a turbulent time for the club.

Barcelona said Xavi will be presented in an event Monday at Camp Nou. 

Al Sadd CEO Turk Al-Ali earlier said: “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.”

Xavi racked up 767 appearances for Barca during his playing career – a tally only surpassed by Lionel Messi (778) – and won a glut of individual and team honours.

He won LaLiga eight times and the Champions League on four occasions before ending his 24-year association with the club in 2015.

After seeing out the final four seasons of his playing career with Al Sadd and adding four more trophies to his collection, Xavi made the transition into coaching in May 2019.

The 2010 World Cup winner has enjoyed success in the dugout, too, having guided his side to the top-flight title last season, on top of winning the Qatar Cup and Qatari Super Cup.

Former Spain international Xavi departs with Al Sadd three points clear at the top of the league following Wednesday’s 3-3 draw with second-place Al-Duhail.

That proved to be Xavi’s final game at the helm, and he now faces a huge job at Barcelona, who are down in ninth place in LaLiga with 11 games of their season played.

Barca lost to Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano in Koeman’s last two games before the Dutchman was sacked.

They have since drawn with Deportivo Alaves in the league and beaten Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League under interim boss Sergi Barjuan, who will lead the team Saturday at Celta Vigo. 

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