In a shocking development, Javier Miguel of AS is reporting that Xavi Hernandez could end up leaving FC Barcelona if the team fails to beat Napoli and qualify for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Xavi has already announced that he will be leaving Barcelona at the end of the season, claiming that the team needed a change of dynamics after a disappointing season thus far.
The 3-3 draw against Granada last night has further ramped up the pressure on the 44-year-old, with a large section of supporters calling for a change of managers right away.
Despite that, Joan Laporta continues to trust Xavi, although things could change in the weeks to come if the situation does not improve.
Xavi himself will leave if UCL objective is not achieved
One of the objectives for the remainder of the season for Barcelona is to at least make it through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League by beating Napoli across two legs in the Round of 16.
And as AS has been able to find out, Xavi is the first to be very clear that if they do not pass the Champions League Round of 16, he will not continue.
The coach has always made it very clear that he will never be a problem at the club, so if he sees that the best solution is to bring forward his departure, he will do so without any problem.
Last chance salon for Xavi?
As per the report, no one at Barcelona is able to guarantee that Xavi will continue until the end of the season.
All eyes are on the Champions League tie against Napoli in a week’s time. The result of this match could mark Xavi’s short-term future. A defeat could lead to the immediate departure of the coach, with Rafa Marquez as a possible replacement for the remainder of the season.
President Joan Laporta, who continues to protect Xavi within the club, is beginning to show clear signs of exhaustion in the project. His advisors and people he trusts have been pressing him for some time now to make a decision regarding the coach.
As for sporting director Deco, the report states that he seems to have turned his back on Xavi, following his recent statements to a Portuguese media outlet about changing the club’s model, which have been since denied.
What is certain is that whatever happens this Saturday against Celta Vigo, Xavi will continue. It will be the game against Napoli that will end up dictating the verdict.