Soccer-Flores slams Barcelona treatment of 'legends' after Xavi sacking

Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - Quarter Final - Atletico Madrid v Sevilla - Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - January 25, 2024 Sevilla coach Quique Sanchez Flores before the match REUTERS/Susana Vera

(Reuters) - Sevilla boss Quique Sanchez Flores criticised Barcelona for their treatment of club greats after they announced on Friday that coach Xavi Hernandez would be sacked at the end of the season.

Barcelona fired Xavi just four weeks after confirming he would honour the last year of his contract and lead them through next season. He had announced in January that he would resign at the end of the campaign but reversed his decision last month.

Flores referred to how former Barca player Ronald Koeman was sacked in 2021 and all-time top scorer Lionel Messi could not sign a new contract due to the club's finances being in disarray.

"I shouldn't say this, but how badly Barcelona treats its legends. What a bad streak," Flores told reporters ahead of their final LaLiga game of the season against Barca.

"With Koeman, with Messi, with Xavi now, how bad. I wish clubs treated their legends well. That would be fantastic. That is a legacy of connection from the managers to the fans. This connects a lot, treating legends well," Flores added.

"Xavi is a legend of the club. He won the league last season and football has a short memory. He was questioned this year from the first minute. I have doubts that the criticism about him is correct."

Barcelona will finish the season second in LaLiga behind champions Real Madrid and Xavi will remain in charge for the game at Sevilla.

"Xavi has experienced many things as a player and has done a good job as a coach," Flores added. "I'll give him a huge hug, we'll talk."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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