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‘If it wasn’t Xavi, I would have already fired the coach’ – Barca chief Laporta


Barcelona president Joan Laporta admits he would already have made a change of head coach if not for Xavi’s standing with the Blaugrana.

Xavi led Barca to their first league title of the post-Lionel Messi era last term, but he announced that he will leave the Catalan giants at the end of the season last week.

Barca’s title defence never got going and they are languishing fourth in LaLiga, 10 points behind rivals Real Madrid and nine adrift of surprise challengers Girona.

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The Blaugrana also exited the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage, losing 4-2 in extra time to Athletic Bilbao, while they were routed 4-1 by Madrid in the final of the Supercopa de Espana.

While Laporta has previously claimed Xavi’s decision to depart was his own, he has now admitted the former midfielder’s history with Barca saved him from being dismissed.

Asked whether Xavi could yet be sacked before the end of the campaign, Laporta said: “If it’s down to me, I won’t fire Xavi.

“He does not deserve that. He truly believes in that formula we have set up until the end of the season.

“Barca won’t give up in LaLiga or the Champions League and we have a squad good enough to compete and win against Napoli [in the last 16].

“We don’t doubt how involved the management and players are. If it wasn’t Xavi, I would have already fired the coach in this situation.”

The likes of Mikel Arteta and Thiago Motta – both of whom have historic links with Barca – have been tipped to take over in Catalonia, and Laporta says selecting Xavi’s successor will be the responsibility of sporting director Deco.

“Deco is working on it. I’ve delegated this task to him,” Laporta said of the club’s managerial search. “I trust Xavi for the remainder of the season.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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