Xavi announced that he will leave his post as Barca coach at the end of the season, informing reporters of his decision after the 5-3 defeat against Villarreal on Saturday. According to AS, the coach had not yet told his players, who found out through news reports as they returned home.

Despite having slept barely two hours overnight, Xavi brought his players together on Sunday morning before training and apologised for the way they found out about his decision, the report says. He said that he feels his decision is “the best for everyone” because he is “freed from a burden” and the players can now “play without so much pressure”. Xavi was on the verge of tears on several occasions in the meeting and his players gave him a round of applause after his speech.

Saturday evening’s loss leaves Barca 10 points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid, giving them only the slimmest of hope of retaining their crown this season. Xavi will see out the rest of the campaign with the Catalan club but they will start the search for his successor as they look to rebuild for the 2024-25 campaign.

Xavi will attempt to keep his team in good spirits despite their recent Supercopa de Espana defeat, exit from the Copa del Rey and slip up in La Liga. He will hope to have his team back to winning ways on Wednesday when they meet Osasuna in the league.