Xavi met the team for almost half an hour in the locker room before training to explain the reasons for leaving.
Xavi Hernández is currently going through a highly intense period. Following his public announcement on Saturday regarding his departure on June 30, the Blaugrana coach convened with his team on Sunday morning. According to Javi Miguel of AS, surprisingly most players learned about this development through the media upon returning home, with even the team captains being unaware of Xavi’s decision, which had been kept confidential within his closest family circle. The shock was substantial, and the first to react was Gavi, who shared a deeply emotional message on social media: “Always with you to death, mister.” Had it not been for a serious cruciate injury sidelining him, Gavi’s presence on the field might have altered Xavi’s narrative this season.
Xavi was well aware that Sunday was no ordinary day. This realization stemmed not only from the team’s near elimination from La Liga contention after a resounding defeat against Villarreal (3-5) but also from his public announcement of departure from FC Barcelona. The coach sought to meet with the squad, including the staff, before training, excluding anyone from the board or sports management. He aimed to elucidate the reasons behind his abrupt and impactful decision. Despite having had just over two hours of sleep, Xavi appeared with a desire to be transparent and candid.
He began by apologizing for the abrupt revelation, stating, “I’m sorry that you found out this way, but it was something that I had carried for a long time and couldn’t postpone any longer.” He then explicitly outlined the rationale behind his unexpected decision: “I sincerely believe that it is the best for everyone; for me, as it frees me from a burden, and for you, as you can play without so much pressure.”
In a nearly thirty-minute address, the coach elucidated the factors influencing his decision, expressing gratitude for the “commitment and effort” of the entire team, emphasizing their familial bond. He also encouraged them that there is still time to make history, saying, “I firmly believe that we can make a mark and surprise those who already consider us defeated.”
The emotion was palpable in Xavi’s words, and he teetered on the brink of tears multiple times. The players responded with a resounding applause at the conclusion of his speech. Subsequently, Xavi shared hugs with each player and staff member.
The upcoming reaction of the footballers following the official announcement of Xavi’s departure on June 30 remains to be seen. It is also uncertain whether Xavi’s decision will alleviate the burden the team has been carrying for the past few months. The Wednesday match against Osasuna in Montjuïc is poised to serve as a true referendum.
While Joan Laporta was not present at the meeting, he later visited the Blaugrana sports city accompanied by Enric Masip. The Barcelona president came to support Xavi and the squad after the coach’s announcement of his farewell at the end of the season.