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BARCELONA

The earliest Xavi could be sacked from the Barcelona job

A defeat in the first leg of the Champions League could prove to be fatal for the Blaugrana coach. Rafa Márquez is lined up as a possible emergency solution.

Update:
A defeat in the first leg of the Champions League could prove to be fatal for the Blaugrana coach. Rafa Márquez is lined up as a possible emergency solution.
GORKA LEIZADiarioAS

The situation at Can Barça can be best be described as critical in every sense of the word. Sunday’s 3-3 draw against Granada only confirmed the chronicle of a death foretold. The vaunted reaction after the announcement of Xavi’s delayed resignation has barely lasted a week. This weekend’s setback has revealed all the ills of this team. So much so that right now, as AS has learned, no one in the club is capable of guaranteeing that the 44-year-old coach will still be in the job by the end of the season.

Xavi’s position hanging by a thread

All eyes are focused on the Champions League tie against Napoli in a week’s time. The result of that match could mark Xavi’s short-term future. A defeat could precipitate the immediate departure of the current coach, with Rafa Márquez the leading candidate to be ushered in to occupy the bench until the end of the season.

President Joan Laporta, who continues to protect Xavi within the club, is beginning to show clear signs of exhaustion in the project, as was seen in the Montjuïc box last night, throwing a tray of canapés after the team practically spoiled any hopes of clinching LaLiga title. His advisors and trusted people have been pressuring him for some time to make a decision regarding the coach, as a first step in search of a reaction to a season in which some still see the Champions League as the only salvation.

Barcelona’s project in need of a revamp

Sports director, Deco, also seems to have turned his back on Xavi, especially after his latest statements to a Portuguese media, later denied and/or qualified, about the current model of Barcelona I was exhausted.

As AS has learned, Xavi has made it very clear that if the team doesn’t make it through the Champions League knockout round, he will not continue. The coach has always stressed that he will never be a problem at the club, so if he sees that the best solution is for him to leave early, he will do so without any problem. But right now, he is not reached the point of no return. He still believes that he can lift the team and salvage something from the season. Obviously, the objective in LaLiga is to catch up with Girona and finish at least second, thus guaranteeing not only the Super Cup but also participation in next year’s Champions League. In Europe, the aim is to go as far as possible, reaching the quarter finals at the very least.

What is certain is that whatever happens this Saturday in Vigo, Xavi will continue. It will be Naples who ends up passing the sentence. A defeat in San Paolo would bring forward the end of Xavi's project by a few months.