Xavi Hernández, the player who personified the attacking style made popular by Barcelona and Spain’s national team, is returning to Camp Nou as the new coach of his struggling boyhood club.
Barcelona announced in the early hours of Saturday that Xavi has agreed to a contract through 2024 after the former Spain midfielder was released from his contract as the coach of Qatari club Al-Sadd.
Xavi will replace Ronald Koeman, who was fired last week following a series of losses for a club that failed to re-sign Lionel Messi. Sergi Barjuan has been coaching Barcelona since, overseeing a draw in the Spanish league and a victory in the Champions League. Barjuan will return to coaching the reserve team after Saturday’s game at Celta Vigo.
The 41-year-old Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 after helping the club win 25 titles, including four Champions Leagues and eight Spanish leagues in 17 seasons. He was also key to Spain’s streak of titles when it won the 2010 World Cup and European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
He has been at Al-Sadd since leaving Barcelona, first as a player and then as coach.
Earlier on Friday, Al-Sadd said it was ready to let Xavi go upon the payment of a buyout clause reportedly worth 5 million euros ($5.7 million). Barcelona made no mention of the clause when it announced the deal with Xavi, only saying that it came “after talks held over the last few days with the owners of the (Qatari) club.”
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