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Xavi QUITS: Barcelona icon will step down as manager at the end of the season after claiming the club has ‘reached a point of no return’ and insists it’s ‘time for change’

Barcelona manager Xavi has revealed that he will leave the club at the end of the season

Xavi’s reign as Barcelona coach ended in farcical circumstances on Saturday night with him announcing his decision to quit at the end of the season after losing 5-3 at home to Villarreal.

‘I’ll go even if we win the Champions League,’ said the 44-year-old. That looks a remote possibility after the team fell 10 points behind Real Madrid shipping five at home for the first time in the league since 1963.

The defeat to Villarreal came just three days after Barcelona were knocked out of the Spanish Cup by Athletic Club.

‘I decided it some time ago,’ he said of his decision to give up on the possibility of staying on beyond the end of the season.

‘People talk about there being a (Sir Alex) Ferguson at Barcelona but that is impossible at this club,’ he added in a bizarre post-match press conference hinting at a sense of being treated harshly despite leading Barcelona to the league title last season.

Xavi announced his decision to leave after Barcelona's 5-3 defeat against Villarreal‘The feeling of being a Barça coach is cruel, unpleasant and unpleasant one,’ he said. ‘There is a lot of disrespect and it affects you, until it leads to a decision like this one.’

The pressure has been building for weeks with the club’s sporting director Deco rumoured to be keen on replacing Xavi with B-team coach Rafa Marquez.

But it seemed despite the 5-3 drubbing there would be no action taken against Barcelona’s all-time most decorated homegrown player.

Then he sit down to reporters for his post-match media conference and said: ‘Before you ask me any questions, I would like to announce that on 30 June I will not continue as Barça coach.

‘It is a decision I have taken with the president, with (director) Rafa Yuste and with Deco.

‘The situation we are in warrants a change of direction and as a Barcelona fan I know things can’t go on like this.

‘I think the club needs a change of direction and it’s for the good of the players who I think will be liberated by the decision.

‘There is a lot of tension around the team. For the good of the board of directors, the best thing is for me to leave.

‘I will do my best until June. I think I’m doing the right thing.’

Xavi has been left hugely frustrated with many of Barcelona's performances this season

Barcelona won LaLiga last season and were crowned champions for the first time since 2019

It was a surreal end to a night on which the Barcelona coach had suffered his 26th defeat in the 122 games he has taken charge of. And that after it seemed things could get no stranger following the decision to play the Coldplay song ‘Yellow’ after Barça’s trouncing at the hands of the club who play in all yellow.

‘I’ve been thinking about it for a long time,’ added Xavi. ‘Hopefully we can win the Champions League and with this announcement I am more confident that we can.

‘I think I’m doing what is best for everyone. I don’t want to be a problem. The best solution for Barcelona is that I leave the club on June 30.’

Xavi has failed to improve on last year’s title winning season and his team have conceded four goals against Real Madrid and Girona, and now five against both Athletic and Villarreal.

‘I met with (Joan) Laporta after the game,’ he said. ‘I told him my decision. He has supported me. I’m not going for financial reasons; I’m going because my heart says it’s the right thing to do.’

Barcelona will now begin the search for a replacement. Michel has impressed everyone this season at neighboring Girona and will be a candidate. Laporta is also a big fan of Jurgen Klopp although persuading him to abandon his plans for a Sabbatical will not be easy.