Barcelona announced they reached an agreement with Xavi Hernandez on a contract extension. The new deal is set to keep the former club legend as manager until 2025 with an option for 2026.
Xavi arrived at the club a couple of seasons ago, taking over from Ronald Koeman.
“Xavi’s arrival brought a fresh approach to first team matters, the Terrassa born coach bringing with him his desire to get the team playing the Barça way, an identity familiar from his playing days,” the club statement read. “The challenge for the new coach was to piece together a team with experience and youth, an objective that has gradually achieved.”
Barcelona were in the doldrums when he took over from Koeman with the threat of not even qualifying for Champions League. He managed to turn things around and guided Barcelona to a second-place finish.
In his first full season as manager, Barcelona won the league — their first since the 2018/19 season.
“We came at a difficult time,” Xavi said. “The club was in an adverse situation — in a sporting, financial and psychological sense. Seeing where we are now, a lot of good work has been done, from the president, to the sporting directors through to all the staff.
“We are still turning the situation around. It’s a process of development and construction, but we are doing a good job.
“This season is now about consolidating on the performances and results that won us two important trophies last season, LaLiga and the Spanish Super Cup.”
But it hasn’t been a smooth ride.
While performances and results domestically have improved, the same can’t be said in European competitions.
Barcelona have been knocked out of the Champions League in each of the last two seasons. Their foray in the Europa League also left a lot to be desired.
That the club is in a better position on different fronts since he arrived cannot be questioned, however.
Xavi this season has perhaps the strongest squad of his tenure. The arrivals of João Cancelo, João Félix and Ilkay Gundogan all represent upgrades in each area of the pitch. Cancelo in particular as the club has been crying out for a right-back close to a decade.
Despite being held to a draw in their opening match in the league, Barcelona has won every match since with their two most recent wins against Real Betis and Royal Antwerp, according to Xavi, being their best performances since he took over.
Should the clause for the additional year be picked up, Xavi will have been the Barcelona manager for the duration of Joan Laporta’s presidency.