HomeLaporta admits Barca have not met expectations after Xavi exit announcement

Laporta admits Barca have not met expectations after Xavi exit announcement

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta acknowledged the Blauagrana have fallen short of expectations this campaign after Xavi confirmed he would step down as head coach at the end of the season.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s chastening 5-3 home defeat to Villarreal, Xavi announced he would leave the Catalan giants at the end of his second full season at the helm.

Xavi guided Barca to their first league title of the post-Lionel Messi era last season, but the Blaugrana are currently 11 points behind surprise leaders Girona and are out of the Copa del Rey.

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The former midfielder has attracted fierce criticism from supporters and the media over the team’s perceived lack of identity, and Laporta accepts they have not been good enough in 2023-24.

“On the sporting side, it is true that this season things are not going as we had planned,” Laporta said.

“We came from winning LaLiga and the Supercopa de Espana, with an improved squad. We had better expectations but they are not being fulfilled.

“We have to be aware that we have to reverse this situation.”

There had been suggestions that Xavi was under pressure from the Blaugrana hierarchy prior to his announcement, particularly in the aftermath of Barca’s humiliating 4-1 Clasico defeat to Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana final.

In December, Laporta also appeared to undermine Xavi’s position by demanding the coach reverse his decision to rest key players for a Champions League group-stage meeting with Royal Antwerp.

However, the Barca chief maintains Xavi’s decision to depart was his own, saying: “Xavi told me that he would leave at the end of the season and that he wanted to finish the season.

“It is a formula that I accept because it is Xavi who proposed it to me. He is a legend of Barca, he is an honest person, who acts with dignity and who loves Barca.

“I am convinced that I can accept it because I know that he and his staff will be fully committed until the end 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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