Barcelona sack Xavi; Hansi Flick ‘on track’ to replace him

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Xavi Hernández will step down as Barcelona coach after the final match of the season on Sunday, the club announced in a statement on Friday.

A source has told ESPN that former Bayern Munich and Germany coach Hansi Flick is “on track” to replace him.

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta met with Xavi after Friday’s training session to confirm the club’s decision to change direction.

The move comes just a month after Xavi and Laporta announced in a joint press conference that the Catalan coach would fulfill his contract, which runs until 2025, although he had initially planned to step down this summer.

“Barcelona president Joan Laporta has informed Xavi Hernández that he will not remain as coach for the 2024-25 season,” Barcelona said in a statement.

“The meeting took place at the training ground in the presence of vice-president Rafa Yuste, sporting director Deco and Xavi’s assistants Oscar Hernández and Sergio Alegre.

“Barcelona would like to thank Xavi for his work as coach, which adds to his incomparable career as a player and captain of the first team, and wish him the best for the future.

“Xavi will take charge of Sunday’s match against Sevilla, which will be his last match as manager.

“In the coming days, Barcelona will unveil the new training structure for the first team staff.”

Flick, 59, has been unemployed since leaving his post in Germany in 2023, but has impressed Barca’s hierarchy during negotiations, with ESPN reporting this week that he had emerged as the leading candidate to replace Xavi.

Barca’s B team coach Rafa Márquez and outgoing Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel were also considered, but a source indicated that negotiations with Flick’s camp were now advanced.

Xavi announced in January that he would step down at the end of the season, although he made a U-turn in April, revealing he would stay and fulfill his contract. This decision was made after a meeting with Laporta, but the Barca president has since changed his mind and decided to seek a change of direction.

Laporta was left annoyed by remarks made by Xavi last week about the financial difficulties facing the club in the transfer market, although sources added that the president was never fully convinced by the former Spain international .

Sources have repeatedly told ESPN this week that Xavi and his team have not received any official information about his future, although they have suspected for a while that he is living out his final days at Barca.

It remains to be seen how Xavi will part ways with the club. He was previously prepared to opt out of the final year of his contract, but given the change in circumstances, sources have neither confirmed nor denied whether he would ask to be paid for the remaining year of his contract.

Xavi, who made over 700 appearances for Barca as a player, took over in 2021 and managed last season Blaugrana to a first La Liga title since 2019.

Meanwhile, Flick has long been admired by Laporta. In May 2021, ESPN revealed that Barça had contacted Flick’s camp to inquire about his availability but that the then Bayern coach had already committed to the German national team and the club therefore decided to keep Ronald Koeman.

The situation is different this time, with Flick being unemployed since his dismissal by Germany in September 2023. Before managing Germany, Flick led Bayern to a treble in 2020, beating Barca 8-2 en route to the Champions League.

Much of his coaching career was spent working as an assistant to Joachim Löw with the German national team, a role he held when Germany won the World Cup in 2014.

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