Soccer-Bittersweet farewell for Xavi as Barca end season with a win


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - LaLiga - FC Barcelona Training - Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, Barcelona, Spain - November 3, 2023 Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez during training REUTERS/Albert Gea/File Photo

SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) -Barcelona ended the season with a 2-1 victory at Sevilla in LaLiga on Sunday, making departing coach Xavi Hernandez's farewell bittersweet after a trophy-less season in which they finished 10 points behind champions Real Madrid.

The final game for Xavi, who was sacked on Friday, leaves Barca second after a disappointing campaign in which they lost the Spanish Super Cup final to Real Madrid and were knocked out of the Champions League by Paris St Germain in the last eight.

"I don't think the work has been appreciated enough," said Xavi. "A double last year (LaLiga and Super Cup) and this year we haven't been up to the task because of details.

"I leave with some mixed feelings because the work is positive even though we didn't win the titles this season. I think we were on the right track and I still think so."

Barca came out all guns blazing from the start and took the lead in the 15th minute through Robert Lewandowski who scored his 19th league goal of the season from close range after latching onto Joao Cancelo's cross.

Sevilla levelled with Youssef En-Nesyri's strike in the 31st and went close again but failed to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Barca got the winner on the hour through Fermin Lopez.

"Today is not the best time to talk about the future but we have a lot of good players," said Ter Stegen.

"We have to work a lot more on an individual level to be able to compete with anyone next year.

"Xavi has always given us a lot. He worked every day so that we could succeed. On a personal level he's been a friend for many years and it's never easy to let him go," he added.

(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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