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Xavi reportedly changes course, opts to stay at Barcelona after meeting with club president Joan Laporta

Xavi has reportedly opted to stick around as the Barcelona manager, reversing course three months after he decided that hed leave the post at season’s end. The ex-Barcelona player made the decision after a meeting with club president Joan Laporta, who set up the discussion in an effort to convince Xavi to stay put. The details around his stay have yet to be ironed out, according to reports.

It marks a fascinating reversal of sentiment for both parties, who seemed interested in a new beginning come summertime. Xavi announced his end-of-season exit in January after a 5-3 loss to Villarreal, when they were 10 points adrift in La Liga’s title race and the likelihood of a trophyless season became very clear despite winning the league a year earlier.

Barcelona’s form turned for the better shortly afterward and they made a run to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, but it did not make much of a dent in terms of lifting silverware. The team currently sits 11 points behind league leaders Real Madrid after a 3-2 loss in El Clasico on Sunday and were ousted from the Champions League in embarrassing fashion, relinquishing a 4-2 aggregate lead to Paris Saint-Germain.

As soon as March, though, Barcelona higher-ups began publicly advocating for Xavi to come back. “Xavi knows what we want,” club vice president Rafa Yuste said, per The Athletic. “It’s his decision — what I’m going to do, as far as I can, is try to convince him to continue.”

Xavi seemed unwilling to return, citing the job as “cruel” while attempts by the club to win him back seemed like a concession that things would not get much better than this in the short term. Barcelona went on a 13-game unbeaten run after Xavi’s announcement, snapped only by their second-leg defeat to PSG, convincing some that he might actually be the right person for the job.

It appears that Xavi has also now been convinced of the same, but how high Barcelona can go in the immediate future remains to be seen. The club has been cash-strapped for several years and that will not change this summer, but they do have promising youngsters such as Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi looking ready to take on even bigger roles. 

Barcelona, though, may find it difficult to compete with local rivals Real Madrid for the foreseeable future. The team is poised to win La Liga and Los Blancos are the favorites for the Champions League title on the back of their star-studded goalscorers. They are expected to add to that by signing Kylian Mbappe over the summer.

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