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Xavi thanks squad for support after confirming he will remain as Barcelona boss

Xavi is to stay on as Barcelona’s head coach (Jose Breton/AP/PA)
Xavi is to stay on as Barcelona’s head coach (Jose Breton/AP/PA)

Barcelona have confirmed Xavi is to stay on as head coach after re-thinking his decision to leave the club at the end of the season.

The 44-year-old, who made more than 500 appearances for Barca during a trophy-laden playing career, announced in January that he would step down, believing his team needed a “change of dynamic”.

However, reports emerged on Wednesday that he had performed a U-turn after meetings with the club’s hierarchy and his decision was confirmed by president Joan Laporta on Thursday.

Laporta told a press conference: “Today, I have the satisfaction of informing you that Xavi will continue as the coach of Barca. It’s great news that Xavi is staying.”

Xavi, who replaced Ronald Koeman at the Nou Camp in November 2021 with Barca lying in ninth place in the LaLiga table, 11 points off the top and 10 behind arch-rivals Real Madrid, is contracted to the club until the summer of 2025.

He announced his decision to cut short his stay after a 5-3 home defeat by Villarreal on January 27, but then presided over an unbeaten run of 13 games in all competitions until a 4-1 home defeat by Paris St Germain ended their Champions League hopes at the quarter-final stage.

Barca currently sit second in the table, 11 points adrift of Madrid with six games to play, but with a bond which looked frayed now restored.

Xavi said: “I’m a huge Barca fan. I have a high level of trust with the president and the board of directors. The complicity and support of the players has also been key.

“I think it’s the best for the club. We have many options for the project to remain a winner.”

Asked about the fans, he added: “They made me see that the project is not finished, especially the fans. I want to thank them for their support and love.”