Xavi: FC Barcelona icon returns to Camp Nou as manager following agreement with Al-Sadd

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Barcelona icon Xavi’s expected return to the Camp Nou as the LaLiga giants’ new manager has now been officially confirmed.

Qatari club Al-Sadd - where the former Spain midfielder has been coaching since 2019 - confirmed on Friday that an agreement had been reached between the two clubs for the high-profile homecoming.

Xavi returns to Barcelona as the successor to Ronald Koeman, who was finally sacked last week after a turbulent 14 months at the helm that culminated in a dismal run of four defeats in six matches across all competitions and significant supporter unrest.

The Spaniard is said to have accepted an offer from Barca several days ago, with only his departure from Al-Sadd to be negotiated.

Directors Mateu Alemany and Rafa Yuste travelled to Doha earlier this week in order to conduct that process, though Al-Sadd initially insisted that their head coach was going nowhere at such a “sensitive” time of the season.

However, Barcelona have now paid the necessary figure to release the 41-year-old from his contract.

"The #AlSadd administration has agreed on Xavi’s move to Barcelona after the payment of the release clause stipulated in the contract,” the Qatari club announced on Friday.

"We’ve agreed on cooperation with Barcelona in the future. Xavi is an important part of Al-Sadd’s history and we wish him success."

Al-Sadd CEO Turki Al-Ali said in a statement: “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 and his family will remain welcome in Doha, and our relationship will continue.”

Xavi is one of the most legendary figures in Barcelona history, coming through the club’s vaunted La Masia academy and winning eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies, making 767 appearances in total and scoring 85 goals while registering 184 assists.

He left in 2015 and played out the last four years of his career at Al-Sadd, where he then took up the coaching reins.

Xavi - who won 25 major trophies overall at Barca - also earned 133 senior international caps for Spain during his illustrious playing career, winning the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship in both 2008 and 2012.

His return comes amid a notably difficult period for Barcelona, whose financial hardships have been well-documented as they were unable to keep superstar Lionel Messi at the club over the summer.

The Blaugrana currently sit ninth in LaLiga and nine points adrift of early leaders Real Sociedad after winning only four of their 11 league matches to date in 2021/22, while they also made an embarrassing start to their Champions League campaign.

Confirmation of Xavi’s appointment from Barcelona, where B-team boss Sergi Barjuan has served as senior coach since Koeman’s dismissal, is expected imminently.

Read More

Pep Guardiola explains why ‘pleasure is higher’ winning with Man City than at Barcelona or Bayern Munich

Dynamo Kiev 0-1 Barcelona: Ansu Fati hits final goal of the pre-Xavi era for scrappy Champions League win

Sergio Aguero out for least three months as Barcelona announce ‘diagnostic and therapeutic process’

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting