Should Xavi Hernandez go now, since Barcelona are out of the Champions League?

Barcelona’s season appears to be all-but over, after Tuesday’s demoralising 4-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain ended their involvement in the Champions League. The Catalans won 3-2 in Paris last week, and were on course to reach the semi-finals until Ronald Araujo’s red card, which was followed by four unanswered goals. It means that the Blaugrana’s supporters won’t have to buy UCL Final Tickets this year.

It means that Barcelona will almost certainly end up trophyless, given that they are eight points behind bitter rivals Real Madrid in the La Liga title race. The two meet in the final Clasico of the season this weekend at the Santiago Bernabeu, and anything other than a win for the visitors would surely end their slim hopes of retaining their crown.

Xavi Hernandez has already announced that he intends to step down as head coach of Barcelona at the end of the season, but after the defeat to PSG on Tuesday, there are suggestions that he could go sooner, especially if Real Madrid are victorious in the Clasico. Rafa Marquez, current manager of Barca Atletic, is the hot favourite to succeed the 44-year-old, and his immediate promotion to the first team would allow him extra time to prepare ahead of next season.

But is it right that Barcelona should sack Xavi next week, provided that their slim title hopes are ended by Real Madrid. Well, at this moment, they are 13 points inside the Champions League places, and this could be 10 by the end of the upcoming weekend if they lose El Clasico, and Athletic Club were to win their match. With six matches to go, they should still be secure inside the top four, but a transitional period this late in the campaign could unsettle the first team squad, and affect their mindset going into the final stretch.

Equally, there is basis to the argument that Xavi should go now if he isn’t going to be here for next season, as he wouldn’t be as committed to the cause as Marquez, if he is indeed going to be the next manager. It’s a tough decision for Barcelona’s higher-ups to make, and it’s up to them to determine whether the next 5-6 weeks is enough for the Mexican coach to stamp some of his authority on the first team.

It remains to be seen how this matter plays out. Things are likely to become clearer next week, especially if Barcelona were to lose El Clasico.

By Alejandro Fernandez

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