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Ronald Koeman agrees with Xavi about pressure at Barcelona: “It’s an attack on mental health”

Xavi Hernandez dropped a bombshell late in January when he announced that he would be leaving Barcelona at the end of the current season.

The 44-year-old club legend had come under scrutiny after a string of poor performances and results and the pressure was mounting on him a great deal.

Despite the situation, Xavi had the backing of the club’s board, led by president Joan Laporta. However, the former midfielder announced his decision to move on once the season is over, claiming that the team needs a change in dynamics.

At the same time, Xavi also acknowledged that the pressure that comes with the Barcelona job has taken a toll on him, claiming that such amount of pressure and scrutiny is not experienced anywhere else.

“I’m leaving because it’s two and a half years and I think that the process of being Barça coach doesn’t pay off,” Xavi had said.

“You fight against a lot of things and that causes wear and tear. I think that you don’t enjoy the day-to-day and I’ve seen that in coaches who have had, who have suffered even when they’ve won.”

Koeman echoes Xavi’s sentiments

Speaking in an interview earlier today, former Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman echoed Xavi’s sentiments, claiming that coaching the club takes a toll on the mental health.

Koeman, a club legend, was Xavi’s predecessor at Barça, and spent a little over year at the club between 2020 and 2021.

During his time, the current Netherlands boss had to endure a lot of challenges, including losing top players like Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi while his relationship with president Joan Laporta was not always cordial either.

“Being a Barça coach is an attack on mental health. It’s much more fun to be a Barcelona player than a coach, and Xavi, as a Catalan and a son of the club, has certainly noticed that,” he said in an interview as quoted by Mundo Deportivo.

“It’s the hardest job I’ve ever done. I suffered the pressure and the stress,” he added. “In addition to that I had a conflict with the president, unlike Xavi.”

Further discussing Xavi’s statements about the press adding on the pressure at Barça, Koeman said:

“The press point a gun at you. If things don’t go well, it’s the coach’s fault. I also suffered that stress and that pressure. He came from Qatar and then joined Barcelona. He was not used to bad criticism, he had only received praise.”

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