Official: Barcelona confirm the return of Xavi Hernández as first team coach
The former player and club legend will be back in La Liga in charge of Barça after the Camp Nou club announced his appointment, ending weeks of speculation.
Late on Friday evening Barcelona announced that they had agreed a deal to secure the return of former player and club legend Xavi Hernández as first team coach.
A club statement read: “FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Xavi Hernández for him to become first team coach for the rest of the current season and two more seasons. Xavi Hernández, a youth team product at Barça, has left his current club, Al-Sadd of Qatar, after talks held over the last few days with the owners of the club.”
The former midfielder returns to his boyhood club, with whom he spent 17 trophy-laden years as a player and won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.
Xavi replaces another Barça alumni, Ronald Koeman, who was sacked last week after a poor run of form which culminated in an embarrassing 1-0 defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano.
Barça forced to pay release clause to secure Xavi’s return
Despite being in a desperate financial position and being forced to operate under stringent financial controls, the club felt they had no choice but to dispense with the service of Koeman and pay off the remainder of his contract.
The Athletic reports that Barcelona have also had to pay a release clause to Xavi’s former club, which is thought to be around €5 million.
Earlier on Friday, Al-Sadd CEO Turki Al-Ali confirmed: “The Al-Sadd administration has agreed on Xavi’s move to Barcelona after the payment of the release clause stipulated in the contract.”
The return of a favourite son to Camp Nou is expected to win back the support of some fans who have become disillusioned with the poor performances of the post-Messi Barcelona.
In announcing Xavi’s appointment the official club website described him as “one of the greatest midfield maestros of all time,” adding that he “helped redefine the art with his creative mind.”
The club have confirmed that Xavi will arrive in Barcelona this weekend ahead of an official unveiling as the new first team coach on Monday, 8 November. The event, held at Camp Nou, will be open to the public and will be followed by a press conference.