Xavi to succeed Koeman at Barcelona?

Al Sadd announced on Friday that Xavi Hernandez would leave to return to Barcelona as their new coach following the dismissal of Ronald Koeman.

Barcelona, though facing a severe financial dilemma, is looking to join a league of clubs with “Legends” as their Coach.

Al Sadd released a statement confirming the move on Friday morning. Barcelona is yet to announce the deal officially but is expected to do so later in the day.

“The Al Sadd administration has agreed on Xavi’s move to Barcelona after the payment of the release clause stipulated in the contract,” an Al Sadd statement read. “We have agreed on cooperation with Barcelona in the future.

“Xavi is an important part of Al-Sadd’s history, and we wish him success. Xavi informed us a few days ago of his desire to go to Barcelona at this particular time because of the critical stage his hometown club is going through, and we understand this and decided not to stand in his way.”

 

Koeman was fired last week after a 1-0 defeat to newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.) left Barca ninth in the league table. The loss was Barca’s third in their past four LaLiga matches, and they had won just one of their first three Champions League fixtures, losing 3-0 against Bayern Munich and Benfica, before this week’s win over Dynamo Kiev.

Koeman had to deal with huge financial problems and the loss of star player Lionel Messi, but he never convinced president, Joan Laporta. Laporta first wanted to change manager in the summer and again in September after the defeat to Benfica. Still, he was persuaded to stick with Koeman, given the lack of alternatives. However, after a Clasico defeat to Real Madrid and the loss to Rayo, the president decided to act.

In his short time in charge of Al Sadd, Xavi has won seven trophies, including one league title. They are unbeaten in 36 games in the Qatar Stars League, dating back to last season. But will that performance be enough to raise Barcelona back to its winning and glory days?

Xavi will be taking over Barca with the team at its lowest ebb in over a decade. They have won just four of their opening 11 games in LaLiga and risk missing out on the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in 20 years if they fail to beat Benfica on Nov. 23.

The team has struggled to move on from the loss of Messi to PSG, with the club’s gross debt of €1.4 billion making it impossible to invest in new players.

Time will tell.

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