Xavi Hernandez to leave Barcelona at the end of the season

The Barcelona boss announced his departure date following the loss to Villarreal
FC Barcelona v Villarreal - LaLiga EA Sports
FC Barcelona v Villarreal - LaLiga EA Sports / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Xavi Hernandez announced he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season with his last day officially set for July 30.

More than an hour late, the Catalan boss dropped the news following a 5-3 loss at home to Villarreal.

On June 30, I will leave the club," Xavi said. "It's a decision we have discussed with the president, with the staff. Barça need a change of direction.

"As a Culer, the best thing is to leave the club on June 30th. I think that will help the dynamic change and I still think that we can have a very good season. I have to think about the club before myself."

The loss against Villarreal proved to somewhat be the final nail in the coffin for Xavi.

There was speculation a change could be on the horizon as Joan Laporta met with the sporting management after the loss to analyze on the best course of action.

Xavi added that he had not informed the players of his decision and his decision is final. Even winning the Champions League would not be enough to change his mind.

He reiterated that his departure would be best for the club moving forward. He also said he was the solution to Barcelona's problems two seasons ago and doesn't want to be a problem for them now.

The reports coming out of the meeting between Laporta and the rest of the board was they were backing Xavi and wouldn't make a change unless Xavi explicitly made the first step. Xavi made that step and Barcelona will have the rest of the season to find a replacement.

Whatever has happened between last season and this one, Xavi doesn't seem to have a solution for and it's been evident in the team's struggles.

"I feel the most responsible," Xavi said. "I think the project has worked very well, but I think this decision will help the players and the club. I'm fine, but it's been days since I've decided this and I don't want to be a hindrance for Barça. I won't be a problem.

"I want the best for this club, and the best thing is that I leave the position at the end of the season."

Xavi arrived at Barcelona in one of their worst moments in recent history. He won a double last season, winning the Spanish Super Cup and LaLiga. Things haven't gone anywhere near how he, or the club, envisioned. In a bizarre way, he got to leave on his own terms. As he said, he is the one responsible for the team's display on the pitch. But there's plenty of blame to go around.

Villarreal put five past Barcelona in what could spell the end for Xavi Hernandez. Villarreal put five past Barcelona in what could spell the end for Xavi Hernandez. dark. Next

The pressure is now on both Laporta and Deco to find a suitable replacement. Given their financial situation, they can't afford to bet on an unknown. Yet convincing a proven manager to take the reins next season, isn't going to be an easy task.