Xavi named as Barcelona first-team coach until 2024 following sacking of Ronald Koeman | Football News

Barcelona have named former midfielder and captain Xavi Hernandez as first-team coach on a contract until 2024, following the sacking of Ronald Koeman.

The La Liga club received the green light on Friday to sign the 41-year-old after they paid the release in his contract with Qatari side Al-Sadd.

Xavi played for Barcelona for 17 years, making 767 appearances and winning 25 trophies, including four Champions League wins and eight league titles.

“FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Xavi Hernandez for him to become first team coach for the rest of the current season and two more seasons,” the club said in a statement welcoming the legend back to the club.

Dutch coach Koeman was sacked following a 1-0 defeat by Rayo Vallecano last month which left Barca ninth in LaLiga.

The club are still ninth after Sergi Barjuan was appointed as caretaker coach and sit nine points behind leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand.

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta admits he should have sacked head coach Ronald Koeman earlier after dismissing the Dutchman on Wednesday night.

Barjuan is set to remain in charge for their league match at Celta Vigo on Saturday, with Xavi arriving in Barcelona this weekend before his presentation on Monday.

“It wasn’t goodbye, it was ‘see you soon’. The Camp Nou has always been my home,” Xavi said in a video addressed to the fans.

“You’re my fans, my people, the club that I love the most. And now, I’m coming home. See you soon, Culers. Forca Barca!”

Xavi’s first game will be a local derby against Espanyol on November 20 after the international break.

A former Spain international, Xavi joined Al-Sadd as a player in 2015, becoming head coach after hanging up his boots in 2019. In April, he led his side to the Qatari domestic league title with the team unbeaten.

He turned down the chance to coach Barca in January 2020 after Ernesto Valverde was sacked but remained linked with the job even after Koeman succeeded Quique Setien in August of last year.

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