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Xavi talks in his last FC Barcelona pre-match press conference

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Photo by MANAURE QUINTERO/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona will bid goodbye to a club legend tomorrow as Xavi Hernandez will be relieved from his duties as the first-team manager.

The former midfielder was informed of his sacking on Friday during a meeting with club president Joan Laporta and other officials.

As such, Sunday’s match against Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan will be Xavi’s last in charge of Barcelona.

The manager appeared in front of the media for his final pre-match press conference at Barça, during which he discussed his exit, among other things.

Giving an insight into his mindset ahead of his final match in charge, Xavi said: “I’m fine, it’s been a difficult few days. My conscience is clear, I’m proud, happy…. It’s been two and a half years, it hasn’t been easy, we said it was a complicated time.

“It hasn’t been an easy period because of the situation the club is going through. We have always been club men. In general, we are happy, because we have done a good job, despite the fact that this year things have not gone the way we wanted them to.”

Stating that his experience with the club has been memorable, the manager added: “The experience has been spectacular and the learning has been tremendous. We will try to enjoy tomorrow in the last game.”

Discussing what went down during the meeting between him and Laporta on Friday at the club’s training facilities, Xavi stated:

“Yesterday we spoke to the president, he told me his reasons why he thinks the coach should be changed. I just have to accept it, he is the one who makes all the decisions at the club. I will always be at Barça’s disposal.

“We shook hands, hugged and wished each other well. I will be just another fan. The players have to be the protagonists to keep things rolling.”

On being asked what changed the club’s stance on his future, Xavi said: “They have decided this with the club in mind, because the club needs a change of direction. I can only accept it and respect it.

“Until today, I was still motivated, excited, confident in the squad, but it wasn’t to be.”

Xavi held his last training session today. (Photo by MANAURE QUINTERO/AFP via Getty Images)

On the possibility of a return to Barcelona in the future, Xavi said: “Yes, why not, I would like to, it’s the club of my life. We’ve been through a rollercoaster of emotions. I’m not closing the door, on the contrary, I hope it ends up happening. These are decisions that the club makes.”

There have been speculations that Xavi might be unwilling to waive off the remainder of his contract, but the manager confirmed that it would not be a problem, saying:

“There will be no problem. What I said, so be it. What did I say? You’re journalists, I won’t repeat it.”

Sevilla manager Quique Sanchez Flores lashed out at Barcelona over their treatment of club legends. On his thoughts on the topic, Xavi remarked:

“It’s not a question for me, it’s for the president, for the sporting director… I would have liked it in other circumstances, I believed in this project.”

On whether there were any major differences with Laporta, Xavi replied: “No. I leave grateful to the president, the sporting directors…. I haven’t had any problems with the directors. I am a man of consensus, of the club and I have adapted to all adversities.”

Discussing the squad’s reaction after learning of his dismissal, the manager said: “I have been honest, I have explained the reality and the president’s motives. I am always honest with the players. It went well.

“The reaction has been spectacular, publicly and privately, with their support for the staff. That’s what I’m left with.”

On his future, Xavi remarked: “If I didn’t continue, I said I’d prefer a rest. From here on, let’s listen and see what the future holds. I’m sure I need some time to rest.”

When asked if he had any regrets during his stay at Barcelona, Xavi pointed at the current season and how Barcelona had not done enough to compete for trophies, saying:

“This year, we haven’t competed in the best way, but we have taken a step forward in our game, but not enough to win titles. The situation hasn’t been right.”

Tomorrow, Xavi says goodbye. (Photo by MANAURE QUINTERO/AFP via Getty Images)

“I have had to make very important decisions, I have no regrets. I have been very honest and sincere. I have given my all, we have worked with honour and love for this club. More than personal, sporting decisions: on a tactical level.

“We have been maturing and it will help us in the future,” he added.

On being asked if injuries were the reasons behind Barcelona struggling this season, Xavi responded by saying:

“We haven’t been fortunate, but I don’t think that was the main reason. It clearly didn’t help. We had it in our hands and we failed. We need to be self-critical and improve for the future.”

Before the start of training today, Barcelona vice-president Rafa Yuste shared a warm moment with Xavi, giving him a hug. On that, he said:

“He has been a very special man, he has given us confidence until the last moment. I’m grateful to Rafa, as well as to the president, Deco and all the people we’ve worked with.”

When he was again asked about a possible return to Barcelona in the future, he said: “I haven’t thought about it. We need a break and we’ll assess the circumstances that arise. Hopefully, we can return to work for the club of our lives.”

On whether he believes if his situation was handled unfairly, Xavi replied: “I don’t think I have to value it. You know my opinion, I have been very clear from day one. It’s not good for me to give my opinion publicly on whether it was fair or unfair. I am grateful.”

Signing off, he said: “Thank you all, believe it or not, I will miss you all. Visca el Barça!”

Source: SPORT

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