Barcelona president Joan Laporta: If it wasn't Xavi, I would have sacked him

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed he would have sacked their head coach if it wasn't Xavi Hernandez and reiterated that he will not dismiss him before the end of the season.

The club icon, who guided the Blaugrana to the LaLiga EA Sports title last season, announced his shock decision to step down from his role in June after a 5-3 home defeat to Villarreal.

Xavi Hernández announces that he will leave FC Barcelona on June 30Twitter

Xavi cited unfair treatment from the press as a reason behind his decision to leave, claiming that their achievements had not been recognized by their critics.

Their form has nosedived this season, with Barcelona currently fourth in the table and 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid. They did, however, qualify for the Champions League knockout round, making amends for last season's disappointing group stage exit.

When asked if he had considered sacking Xavi, Laporta was insistent that "at no time has it crossed my mind", although he admitted he "wouldn't have accepted" their results under a different coach.

"He told me when I went down to the dressing room after [the defeat to] Villarreal. It was surprising because we had not foreseen it," Laporta said in an interview with RAC1.

"I listened to him carefully because he is an honest person, with absolute dignity, he loves Barcelona... when he told me that I could see that he had thought about it, that he was under a lot of pressure and thought it was the best thing to free the players and himself. And that it was good for the club. A deferred resignation.

"He told me 'I resign but I propose to continue until the end of the season. I give up the year I have left'. He told me so and that is dignified. He spoke with so much conviction."

Laporta reveals who would have been Xavi's successor

Laporta has passed the responsibility on finding his replacement to sporting director Deco. But if Xavi had left mid-season, he strongly hinted that Barcelona B coach Rafa Marquez would have replaced him in the dugout.

"He [Marquez] is not ruled out, he has a very good track record, he is training at home and knows the players who are coming up or in transition. It is an asset for him," Laporta said. "Therefore, when I say that we were prepared for emergencies, this is what it is."

But for now, he is content with seeing Xavi see out the season, giving his backing to the player who made 767 appearances for the club in his illustrious playing career.

"He is motivated, he has already said that he will give his all, that he feels liberated and is more motivated than ever. I absolutely believe it," he said.

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