Xavi won’t get the boot before end of the season – Barcelona chief

Barcelona President Joan Laporta has said coach Xavi Hernández will not be sacked before the end of the season regardless of the team’s results.

Xavi, 44, announced he would step down in the summer after last weekend’s 5-3 loss to Villarreal left Barça 10 points off the pace in LaLiga.

ESPN reports that after elimination from the Spanish Supercopa and the Copa del Rey in January, Barça’s hopes of silverware now depend on LaLiga and the Champions League, where they will meet Napoli in the round of 16.

However, Laporta has claimed no matter how bad results get, Xavi — who will give up the final year of his contract, which was due to run until 2025 — deserves to end the campaign.

“I thought Xavi’s decision was just in heat of the defeat, but I listened to him and realised that he had given it a lot of thought,” the Barça chief said in an interview with RAC 1.

“He spoke with a lot of conviction. He said he would step down at the end of the season and give up the remaining year on his contract. I told him if we had to fight for him to stay on, we would.

“I only accepted the proposal because it’s him. I never thought of firing him. I want him to stay until the end of the season. I’m not going to fire him whatever happens. He doesn’t deserve that. He deserves our backing.

“We’re going to fight in LaLiga and the Champions League. We have a competitive squad that can beat anyone. It’s a squad to be doing better than it is, but there are other circumstances to consider, such as the injuries we have had.”

Laporta said that the decision on who will replace Xavi as Barça coach is “in [sporting director] Deco’s hands” and that the club are working on different options.

He also covered a range of other subjects, including the breakdown of the Barça’s relationship with Nike, the European Super League and the failed attempt to sign Swedish midfielder Lucas Bergvall.

Bergvall, 17, spent time in Barcelona earlier this week after the Catalan side agreed a deal with his club, Djurgårdens, but sources have told ESPN the youngster has opted to join Tottenham instead,

“He came here and we made an offer and are waiting to see what he says,” Laporta explained. “Tottenham are offering more — and we have a lot of talented 17 year old kids.

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“We proposed he joined Barça Atlétic and formed part of the first team dynamic. On a financial level, you can’t compare our offer with Tottenham’s.”

Laporta also confirmed Barça are looking if it’s possible to end their link with kit supplier Nike before the expiry of the contract in 2028.

“It’s not an ideal situation because we have not been stocked up with material, not everything has been on schedule and the market pays double what we are getting,” he said.

Asked if Puma could replace Nike, he continued: “I can’t name names. There are different interpretations about how the contract could be broken with Nike which we are assessing.

“We have been with them for more than 20 years and in difficult moments they have not come forward. When we have bared our teeth saying that the market was offering us more, yes they have made an effort, and we are grateful, but it is not enough.

“We want to find the best solution. There are three options: continue with Nike; accept a bigger offer in line with the market rate; or there is the possibility of doing it ourselves through BLM [Barça Licensing & Merchandising].”

Finally, he reiterated Barcelona’s commitment to launching a new European Super League, naming 15 possible participants, but said it’s vital any project gets off the ground within the next two seasons.

“If it’s not from 2024-25, it will be in 2025-26,” Laporta said of a start date for the new competition. “If not, I will re-consider everything.”

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