Barcelona starlet calls Xavi sacking ‘strange’ but is keen to impress new boss Flick

Harry De Cosemo
Yamal Barcelona
Lamine Yamal was the subject of a racist joke by Spanish broadcaster Movistar.

Barcelona teenager Lamine Yamal has admitted the departure of former boss Xavi from the club was “strange” but he is looking forward to a future under Hansi Flick.

The decision to move Xavi on was played out very publicly, and came after the legendary former midfielder initially announced his resignation. He was persuaded to remain at the helm by President Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco, his former teammate, before they changed their minds and fired him, in part because of his comments on Barca’s financial capability to compete with Real Madrid.

Was Xavi too honest?

“Barcelona fans need to understand we are in a difficult situation, especially on the economic side,” he said. “Our financial situation is not the same as 20 years ago, when the club manager could say, ‘I want to sign this player, this player and this player’. And we got them all.

“The fans have to realise we need to adjust to this. I am doing it and we will do it together as a club. That does not mean we won’t compete. We will try our best.” Laporta and Barcelona felt “betrayed” according to The Athletic.

Xavi, who won 25 trophies in 17 years as a player at the club he grew up supporting before leaving in 2015, had also previously stated the job made him tired, and after Flick replaced him, he told the press that the German would suffer.

Yamal, 16, is getting ready for Euro 2024 with Spain after a stunning start to his Barcelona career. He admits he was baffled by Xavi’s exit.

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He told Mundo Deportivo: “It was a very strange moment. At first he left, then he stayed… It was strange, because we saw the same thing that you saw too. [It was] very sad because for me he was the first coach in the elite that I’ve had, but these are things that happen in football.”

But the youngster is excited about the prospect of the new style of play following on from Flick’s appointment: “The last thing I saw was when he was at Bayern, and also in the German national team. They have a fairly offensive game, quite direct. I’m very excited.”

Since making his first team debut in 2023, Yamal, who doesn’t turn 17 until July, has played 38 La Liga games for Barcelona and scored five goals. He has also played seven games for Spain, scoring twice.

Last season, Barcelona were beaten to the title in Spain by Real Madrid, who finished 10 points clear of them. Flick, who won the treble with Bayern in 2020 before enduring a less than successful spell as German national coach after replacing is former boss Joachim Low, will be under pressure to deliver immediately.

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