‘Won’t be easy’: Xavi sends message to next Barcelona manager

Xavi Hernandez signed off his departure as Barcelona coach following a 2-1 victory over Sevilla on Sunday, warning his successor that the job “won’t be easy”.

The Catalans, who finished second, finished the season without a trophy, but they did win Xavi’s final match in command after President Joan Laporta fired him on Friday.

Just weeks earlier, Barcelona announced Xavi was staying for next season after the coach said in January he had decided to resign in the summer.

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Appointed in November 2021, Xavi led Barcelona to the Spanish title last season, but this year his team finished 10 points behind champions and bitter rivals Real Madrid.

German coach Hansi Flick is expected to be appointed as Xavi’s successor next week.

Xavi warned of the struggle awaiting the next in line.

“They should know that they’ve got a difficult situation, because Barca is a difficult club and there’s an adverse financial situation too — it won’t be easy at all,” he told DAZN.

“I think the work we’ve done has not been valued enough given the adverse situation we came from.

“(Barca) were ninth in the table when we arrived, we finished second… (then) we won a double, and this year we weren’t up to the standard but because of four key games.”

Barcelona lost both matches against Real Madrid in La Liga and against third-place neighbours Girona, as well as one other match to Villarreal.

They ended on a positive note, with a victory at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium.

Robert Lewandowski put Barcelona ahead from close range but Youssef En-Nesyri levelled for Sevilla, whose coach Quique Sanchez Flores is also leaving at the end of the season.

One of Xavi’s successes in the role has been to give young players their chance, including starlets Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi, but also midfielder Fermin Lopez.

The 21-year-old drilled Barcelona ahead in the second half with a low strike from outside the area.

Lopez ran over to Xavi to give the departing coach a hug after his goal.

“Firstly, as a professional he has given us so much, he worked every day so that we could succeed,” Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen told DAZN.

“We thank him a lot for his time. We wish him the best — on a personal level, he’s been a friend for many years and it’s never easy to (see) him go.”

Some Sevilla fans protested against the board before the game, wearing black and entering the game 10 minutes late, after another disappointing campaign in which the Andalusians finished 14th.

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