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What's next for Xavi Hernandez?

There are few positions in sports more stressful and demanding than the manager of Barcelona, a lesson that Xavi Hernandez unfortunately had to learn the hard way. The Catalan legend announced he would be stepping down as head coach at the end of the season after the club's 5-3 home loss to Villarael on January 27th.

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But, why did Xavi decide to step down in the first place, and what do we know about his future plans in the world of football?

The reasons for Xavi stepping down as manager are multifaceted, but any conversation has to start with the results on the pitch. In 2023-24, the giants of Spanish football failed to make it out of the Champions League group stage for the second straight season, and sit eight points back of Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga. Because of this poor run of recent form, FC Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez decided it was time for a change.

"I think the situation needs to change, and as a culer [Barcelona fan], I cannot allow the current situation,” said Xavi. “"And mostly as a cul, thinking about the club and about the players as well, I think they will feel more free, they will be calmer. I think we play with too much tension. It's for the benefit of the board, of the club.”

But that’s not the only reason for Xavis departure. He also mentioned the mental toll the job took on him, and the enormous expectations that come with it.

“The feeling of being Barca coach is unpleasant, it's cruel. You feel that often there is a lack of respect, you feel they do not value your work, and this wears you down terribly,” said Xavi during his announcement. “It affects your mental health. I am a positive person but the energy goes down to a point where you think that there is no sense."

And, it’s easy to see why Xavi felt that way when examining the situation he was given. Xavi Hernandez’s stats as a manager weren’t quite as exceptional as his playing days, but he managed to keep a Barca side on the verge of financial ruin firmly relevant at the top of LaLiga.

After inheriting a team miring in 9th place in November of 2021, Xavi managed to turn Blaugranas season around, finishing in 2nd. And, in 2022-23, he did one better, guiding Barcelona to their first LaLiga title since 2019. The results haven’t been quite as kind this season but, considering the situation they were in when he joined, its hard to say he’s done anything other than a solid job.

What’s next for Xavi?

For now, Xavi Hernandez is set to finish out the rest of this season as manager of FC Barcelona. The club is still within striking distance of a LaLiga title, and are one of the favorites to win the EURO cup as well. As for his future, the 2010 World Soccer Player of the Year, has not announced the next step on his managerial journey.

Published by Patrick Jane