New era for Barcelona with Xavi exit imminent

BBC Sport's Guilliem Balagué says that the Catalans will part company with coach Xavi at the end of the campaign due in part to comments the legendary coach has made just recently.
Girona FC v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports
Girona FC v FC Barcelona - LaLiga EA Sports / Pedro Salado/GettyImages

Since taking over in November 2021 Xavi has steered Barcelona to the La Liga title and a domestic Super Cup win but this season has seen the club fall well behind Real Madrid and concede their title to them.

Xavi's relationship with club President Joan Laporta was strained, and he had seemed on his way out in January but was then persuaded to stay and lead the club through to the end of the season.

But it now appears his short rein in charge at the club is coming to an end and the man who was arguably one of the best midfielders to ever play the game and won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues with Barça, is on his way out.

According to Balagué, his successor will be B team coach Rafael Márquez and so a new era will begin at the Camp Nou.

Márquez or whoever it turns out to be that takes over from Xavi (assuming he does indeed get the boot) has a big job on his hands with serious challenges both on and off the pitch.

Firstly, on the pitch Barça, as well as finishing a distant second to Real in La Liga, also went out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage and soundly beaten over two legs by PSG. That is not good enough.

And this summer as if Los Blancos have not got enough firepower, PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe will certainly be joining them, hugely strengthening their potential stranglehold on the Spanish league.

Barcelona themselves have quite a few ageing players in their squad - such as Robert Lewandowski, İlkay Gündoğan and Oriel Romeu - all of whom are currently important players, and so need an injection of fresh younger talent to remain competitive and try to keep up with Real Madrid.

Usually, investment in the team during the transfer window would be the obvious solution. But of course, Barcelona are in considerable financial difficulty and will have to plot any summer moves carefully and prudently.

There might still be deals to be done but the Catalan's could well have to sell before any significant additions are made to the team.

So, whoever does end up in the hot-seat at the Camp Nou, will certainly have plenty on their plate to be sorted out before the new campaign kicks off.