Barcelona confirm return of Xavi as manager

Last update on.From European Football
Between 1998 and 2015, Xavi was a Barcelona player

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi is back as manager of the Spanish club with a contract through 2024.

The 41-year-old Spaniard has been Al Sadd's manager since 2019. However, they agreed to let him join Barca on Friday after his release clause was satisfied.

Barcelona says that Xavi's contract will continue for the remainder of the 2021-22 season as well as two additional seasons.

He is expected to return to Spain this weekend, and will officially be unveiled at the Nou Camp on Monday.

The World Cup-winning, two-time European Championship-winning Spain ex-international said in a video to his fans: "It wasn’t goodbye, it’s'see you soon'. Camp Nou has been my home since childhood.

"You are my fans, my people. This is the club I love most. Now, I'm returning home. Culers, see you soon. Forca Barca."

Xavi played 767 games with Barca and won 25 titles during his 17-year tenure. He first joined the club in 2015 as a player.

After retiring in 2019, he was appointed head coach and led them to the league title last season. They have won 36 of their league games without losing.

Since Ronald Koeman was sacked by Barcelona on 27 October, Xavi is heavily linked to a return back to the Nou Camp where he had spent most of his illustrious career.

Barcelona is currently ninth in La Liga, having won only four of their first 11 games. This leaves them nine points behind leaders Real Sociedad.

This season, the Catalan club has struggled financially and Lionel Messi, Xavi's ex-teammate, was not able to stay due to salary constraints.

Barcelona could not afford to sign any new players in the summer. Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero arrived as free transfers, while Luuk de Jong joined on loan from Sevilla.

Joan Laporta, president of Barca, has stated previously that "I have always maintained that one day [Xavi] would be Barca's coach but I don’t know when."