Joan Laporta attended Barcelona training on Sunday where Xavi Hernandez spoke with the players regarding his decision to leave the club at the end of the season.
Once the training session ended, the Barcelona president gave his first words about Xavi's decision to leave.
"Xavi informed me that he would leave at the end of the season. He wanted to finish the season and it's a formula that I accept because it was Xavi who proposed it to me," Laporta said. "And he is a Barça legend. He is an honest person; he acts with complete dignity, and he is a person who loves Barça."
Xavi's decision to leave came after the 5-3 at home to Villarreal. A loss where Barcelona came from 2-0 down to go up 3-2, only to give up three goals in the final 20 minutes. However, it was reported that Xavi had contemplated leaving before Christmas and that he ultimately made the choice following the Spanish Super Cup loss to Real Madrid.
Xavi's, and consequently Barcelona's, failures this season is a huge blemish in Laporta's second reign as club president. He basically sold off parts of the club in order to have the funds necessary to bring in players that would not only field a team that could compete for LaLiga but the Champions League as well.
While Barcelona did win the league last season, the Champions League continues to be humiliating exit after humiliating exit.
Given they're 10 points behind Madrid and 11 behind Girona, the goal going forward in the league is to somehow try to finish second so they'll be able to compete in the Spanish Super Cup. At the very least, they want to finish in a Champions League place.
The Catalan side is still alive in the Champions League but far from being considered a legitimate candidate to win it. They're likely only slight favorites to get past Napoli in the round of 16.
"We have to give everything, we have to try to win the Champions League," Laporta added. "We are in the next round against Napoli, and we are going step by step, and I think that, with commitment, with more character, without losing concentration, with the coach giving everything that I know he will, and with the players fully committed, we will be able to achieve some of the goals we have set for ourselves at the end of the season."
That's certainly a step down from the rhetoric just a few weeks ago. Laporta, and the club, may need to settle for getting past Napoli and a decent quarterfinal exit.
Xavi was supposed to be Laporta's Guardiola in his second mandate. Instead, Laporta now faces the difficult task of having to find a suitable replacement for a club legend. With Barcelona's precarious institutional situation, he cannot afford to get the next appointment wrong.