Monday, December 6, 2021

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OFFICIAL: Xavi replaces Koeman as Barcelona coach

Spanish legend Xavi Hernandez will replace Ronald Koeman as head coach of Barcelona.

Xavi’s appointment was confirmed by Qatari club Al Sadd on their Twitter handle on Friday after successful negotiations with the Catalans.

Koeman’s position became untenable with a defeat in El Classico against Real Madrid last month followed by a shock loss at Rayo Vallecano three days later – a result which saw him binned.

The club then elevated their former left-back Sergi Barjuan – coach of the club’s B team – into the position as interim boss to guide the side in the matches going into November’s international break.

Barca, who are ninth in La Liga, drew 1-1 with Alaves in Sergi’s first game in charge, before beating Dynamo Kiev 1-0 in the Champions League in Ukraine on Tuesday.

The statement by Al Sadd read: “The administration agreed on the transfer of Xavi to Barcelona after paying the penalty clause stipulated in the contract.

“We agreed with Barcelona on practical cooperation in the future, Xavi is an important part of the history of the club.

“We wish him all success in the next stage.”

Xavi was the record-appearance holder at Barcelona (767) before being surpassed by Lionel Messi this year.

Prior to Koeman’s sacking in October, Xavi said in an interview with Spanish media outlet 20 Minutos: “My ideal dream would be to coach Barca, that is my goal and my dream and I have never hidden it.

“I don’t know if it will happen or not, if they will need me or not, but at the moment I am happy to be in Al-Sadd and very proud of it.”

Xavi departed Barca in 2015 having won 25 trophies with the club as a player including eight La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns over his 17-season career with the Catalan giants.

The Catalans will hope his appointment will reecho that of Pep Guardiola which brought unprecedented success during a four-year spell from 2008 to 2012.

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