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Xavi to remain at Barca: 'This is a winning team'

Xavi Hernandez Barcelona Xavi Hernandez - The Canadian Press

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Xavi Hernández says he walked back his decision to leave Barcelona this summer after his players convinced him “this is a winning team” even if this season will end without any trophies.

“Many people, including my players, have made me see that this is not over," Xavi said on Thursday at a news conference.

Xavi spoke a day after he reached an agreement with Barcelona to reverse his January decision to leave his boyhood club after this season. He has committed to finishing out the final year of his contract that lasts until June 2025.

Xavi said the improved play of this team has been key. That, and feeling he “has the strength” to go on.

The Spain great said he has always put the good of the team and club first. And while he once thought his team needed a new approach, now he thinks he can still be successful.

He denied it was about money: “The club president knows that if I had not finished the last year of my contract I would not have asked to be paid one single euro.”

The decision to stay came three days after a 3-2 loss to Real Madrid that all but ended the team’s chances of a trophy. 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 Champions League quarterfinals.

But at least Barcelona showed some improvement since Xavi's unexpected announcement in January to leave. After that, it strung a 13-game unbeaten streak before falling to PSG.

“I don’t think my time here is over and I believe that we can be successful. I am convinced of that, and these three months have made me see that,” Xavi said. “And since changing one’s mind is a sign of wisdom, I have decide to change my mind.”


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