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Barcelona finally sack Koeman as manager, set to appoint Xavi

Ronald Koeman has been fired as Barcelona manager, following the 1-0 defeat to Rayo Vallecano in LaLiga on Wednesday night.

It was the Catalans’ third defeat in their last four league games.

The 58-year-old leaves Barca ninth place in the league and in danger of missing out on the Champions League knockout phase for the first time in 20 years, with the side yet to register an away win in any competition this season.

The club said in a statement: “FC Barcelona have relieved Ronald Koeman of his duties as first-team coach. The president of the club, Joan Laporta, informed him of the decision after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano.

“Koeman will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday at the Ciutat Esportiva. FC Barcelona wishes to thank him for his service to the club and wishes him all the best in his professional career.”

The club will open talks with Xavi Hernandez on Friday regarding the vacancy, with the former team captain now the first choice, ESPN reports.

However, the same sources add that Barca don’t expect to have a replacement in place until after the November international break. An interim coach is set to take charge of the next three games against Alaves, Dynamo Kiev and Celta Vigo.

As for Xavi, the 41-year-old former midfield great won a slew of trophies with Barca in his 17 years as a senior player, including eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League medals. He then joined Al Sadd in 2015, becoming head coach at the Qatari club after hanging up his boots in 2019. It is his only managerial experience so far.

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