Barcelona appoint Xavi as new club manager

Barcelona appoint Xavi as new club manager

After a week filled with intense speculations, Al Sadd have finally confirmed the departure of Xavi to Barcelona, where he will take over the role of head coach following the departure of Ronald Koeman last week.

Barcelona will, according to the Qatari club, pay Xavi’s €5 million release clause fee. Their official statement also says that Xavi had expressed his desire to join Barça and the club did not want to intervene in his decision.

The 41-year-old, who enjoyed a legendary playing career at Camp Nou, left the club in 2015 and continued playing for four years at Qatari club Al Sadd before taking over as their manager in 2019.

As soon as he entered into management, though, links of a return to Barcelona started doing the rounds. Xavi had been approached by the Catalans following Ernesto Valverde’s sacking last year, but he opted to stay at Al Sadd.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup winner was widely tipped to take over early into the 2021/22 season with results going pear-shaped for the Blaugrana. However, president Joan Laporta opted to stick with Ronald Koeman but with things spiralling downwards, the Dutchman was sacked last week, following the 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano.

Talks of Xavi coming in as a replacement started doing the rounds again, and it was even believed that an agreement had already been sorted, with only Al Sadd providing some resistance for the move to go through.

However, Barcelona have now been successful in bringing their club icon back to Camp Nou, as the manager of the first team. While Xavi does not have a great deal of managerial experience, he did perform well with Al Sadd, leading them to seven trophies in his two-year spell.

But the task at hand in Catalonia will be of a much bigger scale for the 41-year-old. Xavi will take charge of his first game after the international break when Barcelona take on local rivals Espanyol in La Liga on November 20.