Xavi will stay with Barcelona for another season, AP sources say. Coach had planned to leave

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Coach Xavi Hernández will stay with Barcelona for another year after all, agreeing to finish his contract to 2025 in a reversal of his decision to quit at the end of the season, two people with knowledge of the agreement said Wednesday.

The two people spoke anonymously to The Associated Press because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the deal.

Barcelona was expected to make the decision official on Thursday, when club president Joan Laporta would explain the details about the turnaround.

Spanish media said Xavi met with Laporta and sports director Deco for several hours on Wednesday before agreeing that the coach would stick around instead of leaving as initially planned.

The decision to stay with Xavi came three days after a 3-2 loss to Real Madrid that all but ended the team's chances of winning a title.

The loss in Madrid left Barcelona 11 points behind its rival with six matches remaining in the Spanish league. A week ago, Barcelona was eliminated by Paris Saint-Germain in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

Xavi had announced that he would not continue after the end of this season following a league loss to Villarreal in January. The club had already been eliminated by Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey and lost 4-1 to Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

Xavi said at the time that the decision was made to lower the stress and tension that was surrounding both the team and himself. He said several times afterward that the announcement had the effect he intended, prompting a positive reaction by the squad.

Xavi had repeatedly said recently that he did not intend to go back on his decision to leave at the end of the season.

Barcelona is trying to hold on to second place in the Spanish league. It sits two points ahead of third-place Girona.

Barcelona's next game is Monday at home against Valencia.


AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni reported from Madrid.


AP soccer:

Tales Azzoni And Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press