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Xavi decides to remain at Barca after initially opting to resign in June


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Xavi is staying on as Barcelona's manager next season.

The 44-year-old reversed his initial decision to step down at the end of the campaign, with club president Joan Laporta insisting he remain in charge.

Xavi said immediately after a 5-3 loss to Villarreal in January that the job had become too "cruel" and "unpleasant" to continue. He also said he had suffered mentally since replacing Ronald Koeman in November 2021.

Barcelona went on to win 10 of the following 15 matches, going unbeaten until recent losses against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarterfinals and Real Madrid on Sunday.

"It was a not a simple decision," Xavi told reporters Thursday. "In January, I said (I would leave) because I thought it was best for the club. (Now) I am full of hope. These three months have made me change, the players believe in it, and wise people are willing to rectify, (so) here I am.

"It's not about ego or money. I have energy. I see the fans are happy and proud. It's a cocktail of reasons, above all the confidence of the president and (sporting director) Deco."

During the Blaugrana's uptick in form, Xavi kept saying he would stick to his decision and leave June 30 and that it had produced a positive effect on his beleaguered squad. While former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick, Brighton & Hove Albion's Roberto De Zerbi, and Bologna boss Thiago Motta emerged as potential replacements, Laporta publicly maintained his desire to retain Xavi.

The former midfielder also seemed to rediscover the fire he had lost in the winter months. Xavi was red-carded for dissent after sparring with the "very bad" referee in Barcelona's Champions League quarterfinal second-leg defeat to PSG. He later branded La Liga a "disgrace" for having no goal-line technology.

Despite helping Barcelona win La Liga last season, Xavi endured heavy criticism over his defensive tactics. But his switch back to a more expansive style of play over the past year has failed to produce similar success.

Crucially, he remains committed to promoting youth from Barcelona's famous La Masia academy. Sixteen-year-old winger Lamine Yamal, 17-year-old center-back Pau Cubarsi, 18-year-old forward Marc Guiu, and 20-year-old midfielder Fermin Lopez all made their debuts under Xavi.

Though the good vibes seemed to have returned, Barcelona are virtually out of the La Liga title race, as they sit 11 points behind Madrid with just six games remaining.

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