Barcelona: With an aim to arrest the slide and restore some sanity for the fallen Spanish giants – FC Barcelona on Saturday confirmed the appointment of former midfielder and captain Xavi Hernandez as head coach until 2024. Following the sacking of Ronald Koeman, the LaLiga powerhouse – Barcelona had appointed Sergi Barjuan, the current coach of Barca B, to take the provisional charge of the technical management of the senior squad. However, with Xavi’s appointment – Barcelona will be hoping for a change in fortune in the upcoming games of this season. They are presently lying at the ninth spot in LaLiga points table, nine points behind leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand.Also Read - PSG vs Real Madrid | UEFA Champions League Round of 16: From Lionel Messi to Vinicius Junior- Five Players to Watch Out For
The 41-year-old Xavi had played for Barcelona for 17 years, making 767 appearances and winning 25 trophies, including four Champions League wins and eight league titles. The LaLiga club received the green light on Friday to sign the 41-year-old after they paid the release clause in his contract with Qatari side Al-Sadd. Also Read - Pope Francis Gifts PSG Star Lionel Messi Signed Shirt of Athletica Vaticana
“FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Xavi Hernandez for him to become the first-team coach for the rest of the current season and two more seasons,” the club said in a statementheadlined “WELCOME BACK HOME, XAVI!” “Xavi Hernandez, a youth team product at Barca, has left his current club, Al-Sadd of Qatar, after talks held over the last few days with the owners of the club.” Also Read - Real Madrid Star Karim Benzema Slams Lionel Messi's Critics, Says Knows Nothing About Football
Barjuan is set to remain in charge for their league match at Celta Vigo on Saturday. It is expected that Xavi will arrive in Barcelona this weekend and that on Monday his presentation as new FC Barcelona first team coach will take place in an open event to the public at the iconic Camp Nou Stadium.
Xavi’s first game would be a local derby against Espanyol on Nov. 20, after the international break.
In his 17 years in the first team (1998 to 2015), Xavi won 25 major trophies. However, in total he was at the club for 24 years, beginning as U12 in 1991-92. One of the greatest midfield maestros of all time, Xavi helped redefine the art with his creative mind, pinpoint passing and sublime agility to read the game.
Xavi played out the final years of his career at Al-Sadd in Qatar, and after hanging up his boots in 2019, he became the team coach. He held the position for a few months when he won the Qatari Super Cup, and also led the team to the semifinals of the AFC Champions League.
Earlier, Dutch coach Koeman was sacked after a 1-0 defeat by Rayo Vallecano last month which left Barca ninth in LaLiga.
“It wasn’t goodbye, it was ‘see you soon’. The Camp Nou has always been my home,” Xavi said in a video addressed to the fans.
“You’re my fans, my people, the club that I love the most. And now, I’m coming home. See you soon, Culers. Forca Barca!”