Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski has suggested he will remain at the LaLiga club next season.

Lewandowski joined Barcelona from Bayern Munich in 2022 and has since helped them win the league title last season as well as the Spanish Super Cup.

The 35-year-old ended his debut season as the league's top scorer with 23 goals and has netted a further 18 in Barcelona's current trophy-less campaign.

Lewandowski's current contract is set to expire in 2026, but uncertainties about his future have grown since manager Xavi initially announced his departure in January, only to backtrack in April.

Barcelona are also dealing with economic challenges, with a bloated wage bill and a huge renovation project at the Camp Nou stadium having increased the financial strain this term.

"Of course, for me, it is super clear. I want to win many titles with Barcelona, and I am sure that next season we will be even stronger, and we will also win titles," Lewandowski told Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday when asked about rumours of a potential exit.

"I always want the best, not just for me, but for my team-mates, and I am sure that this team will win titles next season, because I see what we do each day.

"For me, that is what matters, because this is a club that I hold close to my heart and I want to give a lot for the team and the club."

Xavi said earlier in May, "We value Robert's presence in the team very much, and we will decide on his future at the end of the season."

Barcelona are second in LaLiga, 12 points behind newly crowned champions Real Madrid. They face Sevilla in their final game of the season on Sunday.

Xavi criticised some of the Barcelona fans for booing and negative chants towards club president Joan Laporta during their 3-0 win over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

Barcelona sealed second place in LaLiga with the victory, also guaranteeing a place in the Spanish Super Cup at the start of 2025.

However, speculation about Xavi’s future continues to dominate the headlines around the club, with reports suggesting the Spaniard could be sacked despite committing a U-turn to stay at the club after announcing his departure.

During the game, Xavi received a standing ovation, while some of the fans were heard opposing Laporta.

"On the one hand, I want to thank the people for being with me on a personal level," Xavi said. "But I don't like it when they point to a person, whether it's the president or a player. We need unity. It's a nasty situation that I don't like."

A meeting between Xavi and Laporta is reportedly set for the end of the season, and the manager has dismissed claims that he has a bad relationship with the president.

"We have enough trust so far and a friendly relationship to talk about it [his future]," Xavi said.

"I understand the whole mess, but I haven't been informed [about being fired]. The confidence hasn't changed, I think. If it changes, we will inform you.

"I continue with the maximum ambition, absolutely nothing has changed about mine. I want to start next season with the utmost enthusiasm.

"The president has always been honest, and I'm sure he will continue to be so when we see each other."

Paris Saint-Germain boss Luis Enrique is fully focused on what is going on in France, and not paying attention to the situation at Barcelona.

Reports this week suggested Barca may look to replace Xavi with PSG coach Luis Enrique, who led the Blaugrana to success during his stint in charge between 2014 and 2017.

However, the former Spain coach is not interested in any speculation.

Speaking ahead of PSG's trip to Metz on Sunday, he said: "I have already given my opinion on Ligue 1, which is much more competitive than I heard.

"It is clear that there is a high level, with many excellent players. I was pleasantly surprised by the level, including the physical aspect, the coaches and the players.

"I only look at what’s happening in France. I don't know [about Barcelona], I don't comment."

Kylian Mbappe, who is leaving the club at the end of the season, missed PSG's win over Nice in midweek due to a hamstring issue.

Bradley Barcola stepped up in Mbappe's absence, scoring and providing an assist in the 2-1 victory, and the 21-year-old has also been called up for France's Euro 2024 squad.

"Barcola can improve everywhere, like the rest of the players, but above all Bradley is a very young player," Luis Enrique said.

"One thing that I really like is that when you sign a youngster from another team, it's something that seems easy to accept such a challenge but it is very difficult.

"You must understand that the level to be a starter is higher. When a young player like Bradley accepts that and with the performances he has already achieved, I think it's nice to see him at the Euros.

"He deserves it. Next year, the challenge will be even bigger. Our goal for next season will be to look for other [signings], so they are in competition with those already present."

Luis Enrique also knows he will have to adapt to life without Mbappe, who seems destined to join Real Madrid.

"Without a doubt. One of the characteristics of a coach is to adapt," he said.

"We prepared for this group of players but now, with those we can sign and those we already have, there will be tactical changes to come with an undoubtedly more balanced team. There is still room for improvement, in defence and attack."

However, PSG will not limit themselves to signing younger players, but instead base their recruitment on the level of talent they are aiming to bring in.

"We don't sign players based on their age but on their talent," Luis Enrique added. "We sign talent!

"The transfer window will present us with different options and depending on what will be best for the team, we will try to strengthen ourselves. I also like the 30 or 35-year-old players who give a good level for the team. They are all young if you compare them to the coach."

Barcelona coach Xavi says he still has the club's trust, despite a steady stream of media reports president Joan Laporta may be minded to sack him.

"I understand the noise but that changes nothing," Xavi told reporters on Saturday after a training session ahead of his side's game against Rayo Vallecano.

The manager added that his focus was on winning the three points and "the team has an extraordinary base to compete."

"We'll sit down with the president and if we have to talk about anything, we'll do that," he said about rumours of Laporta's loss of confidence in him. 

"But everything is the same as it was three weeks ago. If there are any changes we'll let you know."

Despite being a club great and winning LaLiga last season, Xavi has been under pressure this campaign after Barcelona failed to catch Real Madrid, who have already secured the title.

In January, Xavi said he would resign at the end of this season, but last month he sat down with club officials and agreed to honour the last year of his contract until mid-2025 - with a series of unspecified conditions set by the club.

However, Xavi told reporters on Thursday that the club's situation is difficult, especially in economic terms, and it was tough to compete with the likes of Madrid, in comments that reportedly angered Laporta.

The club has a bloated wage bill, while a $1.6 billion euro ($1.7 billion) renovation project is also underway at the Camp Nou stadium.

Barcelona coach Xavi reached 100 league games in charge of the club with a 2-0 win over Almeria, and although being on the verge of a second-place finish in LaLiga, he made it clear that he wants to win championships.

Xavi, who last month reversed his decision to leave the club at the end of the season, said he is concentrating on the future with changes already in mind for the club.

"I have every ambition to win titles. The economic situation is not the best and we are working to reverse it. We are planning the next season and I see it as an opportunity," Xavi told a press conference.

"We are getting the games ready to play the Super Cup next year. I really want Barca to win titles again.

"This year we haven't competed well enough to win them, but we've come close. I'm eager, excited and ambitious."

Xavi spent 17 years at Barcelona, making 767 appearances and winning 25 trophies, including four Champions Leagues and eight LaLiga titles.

Despite being a club great and winning LaLiga last year as coach, he has come under pressure this season after failing to catch Real Madrid, who have already secured the title, and losing to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-finals.

There are also the challenges of a bloated wage bill and a 1.6 billion euro ($1.7 billion) renovation project at the Camp Nou stadium.

But Xavi is clear that the club will fight to change.

"It's not an easy or pleasant situation. We want to win titles and we haven't done our homework, but we have a very good squad and I am happy with the level of ambition of the players," he added.

"We tell the players the importance of finishing second, but I want to compete and fight for titles."

Fermin Lopez's brace sealed a 2-0 win over bottom side Almeria on Thursday, with Barca now four points clear of Girona in third, with two games to play.

"I'm happy to help the team with goals and for the win, which we needed. We're going to fight for second place until the end and we're on the right track," said Fermin.

Ronald Araujo’s Barcelona future is still undecided, but Xavi says he has "zero doubts" over the defender’s decision.

The Uruguayan has been offered a contract extension to keep him at the club beyond 2026, but Araujo is yet to sign it.

This season, he has made 36 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona, though he dropped to the bench for their win over Real Sociedad on Monday.

Asked about Araujo’s future on Wednesday, Xavi said: "I talk a lot with Araujo, and he knows what I think. There are zero doubts about his future on my side.

"He knows what I want for his future. I always try to speak honestly and sincerely and he’s happy here."

Reports suggest that Bayern Munich and Manchester United are interested in signing Araujo if he does decide to leave Barcelona.

Barcelona face a tough battle to secure a second-place finish in LaLiga but are pleased to have their fate in their own hands with three games remaining, says defender Inigo Martinez. 

Barca leapfrogged Girona into second with Monday's 2-0 home win over Real Sociedad, going one point clear of their Catalan rivals after they drew 2-2 with Alaves on Friday.

Lamine Yamal put Xavi's team ahead in the 40th minute when he coolly slotted home from Ilkay Gundogan's pass after a quick breakaway, then Raphinha's stoppage-time penalty made certain of the win.

The Blaugrana go to Almeria on Thursday before hosting Rayo Vallecano in their final home game of the season on Sunday. They then bring their campaign to a close at Sevilla on May 25.

"There is still a long way to go. It will be a battle to the end. Girona are very strong," Martinez told Movistar after Monday's game.

"It's in our hands now. I think the team is very good. It's three valuable points. We had some mistakes in the first half, but in the second half I think we could have finished it off earlier."

Teenage winger Yamal believes Xavi's side – who are some 14 points adrift of champions Real Madrid – may need maximum points to hold off Girona. 

"It was an important game to regain second place and we have to try to make it a nine-point week," the 16-year-old said.

"La Real did very well in the first half but then we were able to improve. There was a good feeling in the whole team."

Xavi, meanwhile, was pleased to see his team pass a difficult test, saying: "La Real always make it difficult for us. 

"They are always very organised, aggressive, you don't create danger for them. It's an important victory for us. We played a good game in general."

Barcelona reclaimed second place in LaLiga with a 2-0 home win over Real Sociedad on Monday courtesy of a Lamine Yamal first-half strike and a late Raphinha penalty.

Yamal put Barcelona ahead in the 40th minute when he coolly slotted home from Ilkay Gundogan's pass after a quick breakaway for his fifth LaLiga goal this season.

Raphinha's penalty in stoppage time sealed victory for the hosts after a VAR review for handball, leaving the Basque side in seventh place with 54 points, one behind Real Betis in the last Europa League spot.

Xavi's side leapfrogged Girona to move on to 76 points, one clear of their Catalan rivals who dropped points in Friday's 2-2 draw at Alaves.

Real Madrid have already secured the league title, sitting on 90 points with three games left.

Data Debrief: 

Gundogan got a vital assist for Barcelona's opener, and has been involved in 193 open-play shot-ending sequences in LaLiga this season, more than any other player in the competition.

Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in both games against Real Sociedad in LaLiga 2023-24 (W2), achieving this in a single season of the competition for the first time since 2006-07, when they also beat them twice. 

Xavi insisted there is "no debate" over his future at Barcelona after the Blaugrana's title hopes were dashed by Girona.

Barca lost 4-2 to Girona on Saturday, ensuring Real Madrid were crowned LaLiga champions.

Xavi, having initially elected to leave the club at the end of the season, last month performed a U-turn on that decision, confirming he would stay on until at least the end of the 2024-25 campaign.

Yet that did not stop the Barca coach facing questions over his role in Saturday's post-match news conference.

"There is no debate over my future," Xavi told reporters, before expanding on his feelings after the defeat.

"I am sad, disappointed. We have experienced both sides of the coin. Ineffectiveness have killed us once and again.

"I'm the first to be angry, to be p***** off with this situation, I understand the fans. Before being a coach, I was a fan. I understand our people's frustration."

Barca are now in third place and, with four matches remaining, must now rely on Girona slipping up if they are to have any chance of contesting the Supercopa de Espana next season, with a trophyless campaign guaranteed this time around.

Girona, on the other hand, sealed Champions League qualification for the first time in their history.

Portu came off the bench to score twice in Saturday's win, and he gave an emotional interview in the wake of the victory.

"It's incredible to look at your shirt and experience this. There is nothing more beautiful than living this," Portu told DAZN with tears rolling down his face.

"I had a thorn in my side with this club. A few years ago, I experienced the other side, which was relegation and I felt very responsible because I played a lot. Today I made amends with the fans and I can smile again."

Xavi believes staying at Barcelona is the right decision after he performed a U-turn on leaving the club.

Reports emerged on Wednesday that Xavi, who had initially decided to leave Barca at the end of the season, had changed his mind.

Confirmation arrived on Thursday, with Xavi and Barca's club president Joan Laporta holding a press conference.

And Xavi has no doubt he is making the right call.

“You know that I am a very big Barcelona fan and I always try to do the best for the club," he said, as reported by Football Espana.

"The most important thing is to think about the institution. When we met with the president I put my position at his disposal, but I saw that I enjoy great confidence from the president and the entire board.

"The players have been very important, they have made me see that this project has to continue. We are working well, it is a winning project. The project is not finished.

"The fans have also made me see that I must continue. The staff too. I think about what is best for the club.

"In January I thought it was best to leave, but now I see it differently. I think it is the best decision.

"I am 100 per cent committed. The trust they have placed in me again is spectacular. Let's get to work."

Crunch talks with Laporta were reportedly key to Xavi's decision, and Barca's president added: "It's great news that Xavi is staying. Stability is one of the keys to success."

Since taking charge of Barca in 2022, he has taken charge of 137 games in all competitions, winning 85 of them (62 per cent), drawing 24 and losing 28.

His team have scored 261 goals, winning two trophies – the 2022-23 LaLiga title and the 2022-23 Supercopa de Espana.

Barca's last-gasp defeat in El Clasico last weekend saw them fall 11 points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid with just six games remaining.

Barcelona head coach Xavi will continue in his role next season after an unexpected reversal of his decision to leave at the end of the 2023-24 campaign, according to widespread reports.

The former Barcelona midfielder announced in January that he would walk away from the job at the end of the current season, even though his contract was due to run until the end of the following term.

Xavi acknowledged the Barcelona role had taken its toll but reportedly changed his plans after a meeting with Blaugrana president Joan Laporta on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old was initially appointed as Barca coach in 2021 before leading the LaLiga giants to the top-flight title in the 2022-23 campaign.

Xavi's initial announcement of his intentions to depart Barcelona came after a tough period following defeats to Girona, Real Madrid and Athletic Club before revealing the news in the aftermath of a 5-3 loss to Villarreal.

The Blaugrana turned their fortunes around after that decision became public, though, going 13 games unbeaten across all competitions.

Unsurprisingly, that run encouraged Laporta, vice president Rafa Yuste and sporting director Deco to plead with Xavi to continue until the end of his agreed contract.

Though that undefeated streak ended with a 4-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain that dumped Barcelona out of the Champions League quarter-finals, Xavi has now agreed to stay in his role.

The league title is almost out of reach this term, however, as Real Madrid moved 11 points clear of second-placed Barca with Sunday's 3-2 Clasico victory.

Barcelona head coach Xavi will continue in his role next season after an unexpected reversal of his decision to leave at the end of the 2023-24 campaign, according to widespread reports.

The former Barcelona midfielder announced in January that he would walk away from the job at the end of the current season, even though his contract was due to run until the end of the following term.

Xavi acknowledged the Barcelona role had taken its toll but reportedly changed his plans after a meeting with Blaugrana president Joan Laporta on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old was initially appointed as Barca coach in 2021 before leading the LaLiga giants to the top-flight title in the 2022-23 campaign.

Xavi's initial announcement of his intentions to depart Barcelona came after a tough period following defeats to Girona, Real Madrid and Athletic Club before revealing the news in the aftermath of a 5-3 loss to Villarreal.

The Blaugrana turned their fortunes around after that decision became public, though, going 13 games unbeaten across all competitions.

Unsurprisingly, that run encouraged Laporta, vice president Rafa Yuste and sporting director Deco to plead with Xavi to continue until the end of his agreed contract.

Though that undefeated streak ended with a 4-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain that dumped Barcelona out of the Champions League quarter-finals, Xavi has now agreed to stay in his role.

The league title is almost out of reach this term, however, as Real Madrid moved 11 points clear of second-placed Barca with Sunday's 3-2 Clasico victory.

Carlo Ancelotti has urged Real Madrid not to pass up the chance to edge closer to the LaLiga title with an El Clasico victory over arch-rivals Barcelona.

The sides meet at the Bernabeu on Sunday with leaders Madrid eight points clear of second-placed Barca and acutely aware of just how significant a win could be with just seven games of the season remaining.

Ancelotti told a press conference: “If we manage to win it, we’ll be within touching distance of LaLiga.

“We’re playing against highly competitive opposition who have played brilliantly in recent games. It will be a hard-fought and evenly-matched Clasico, as they always are.

“It’s a great opportunity to move closer to the LaLiga title, but we know how difficult it will be because Barcelona are still very much in it.”

Ancelotti’s men are unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions culminating in Wednesday night’s dramatic penalty shoot-out victory at Manchester City which booked their place in the Champions League semi-finals.

They have lost only once in the league all season – in September – and even the hugely-experienced Italian is excited at the prospect of what lies ahead.

He said: “We’re doing a fantastic job. The cake is ready, out of the oven and all we have to do now is ice it this month. It’s a decisive month and we’re heading into it in a great position.”

Ancelotti has a near full complement of players from which to pick from with only defender David Alaba currently not on the training pitch.

Barca will run out in Madrid still licking their wounds after Tuesday night’s Champions League exit at the hands of Paris St Germain, and knowing they will have to do something special to reel in the leaders.

Head coach Xavi told a press conference: “For us, it is the most important game of the season. We have to win and put pressure on the leaders. We are going to try to compete and win at the Bernabeu.

“We will find a strong Madrid, and even more so after eliminating the best team in the world, (Manchester) City. Euphoria will be through the roof and they are a very strong rival.

“Today we trained well; yesterday we were hungover from the Champions League. The team has all the enthusiasm in the world to fight for this league.”

Xavi has immense respect for Madrid’s efforts to date, but knows his side are not far behind where it was at the same stage last season before going on to win the title.

He said: “We have all the respect in the world for Madrid and their numbers are extraordinary – ours too because we have only four points fewer than last season.”

Xavi is convinced Barcelona’s season would have been a “disaster” had he not announced his decision to leave at the end of it.

The 44-year-old revealed after a 5-3 home defeat by Villarreal in January that he would walk away from the club after two and a half years in charge following a difficult spell.

He said at the time his decision would free up his players, and they will head into Saturday’s LaLiga clash with lowly Cadiz on a 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions – the last of them an impressive 3-2 Champions League quarter-final, first-leg victory at Paris St Germain.

Xavi told a press conference: “With the decision made, I was sure we would be like this. If not, it would have been a disaster, and I told the president so.

“I looked and looked around the club. If I hadn’t decided, we wouldn’t be competing by now.”

Asked if he might reconsider his decision in the circumstances, Xavi said: “I’ve told you that at every press conference. Nothing has changed.”

Barca head into the game still revelling in the glow of their midweek fightback in Paris, which saw them recover from a 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 at the Parc des Princes and secure a priceless lead to take back to Catalonia.

They have won their last five in all competitions, although their hopes of closing an eight-point gap to leaders Real Madrid – their opponents at the Bernabeu Stadium next Sunday – appear to be receding by the week.

Xavi said: “Next week there is a Clasico that, if we win tomorrow, could leave us five points behind. If we lose tomorrow, the league is over.”

Indeed, Barca’s focus could lie as much over their shoulder, with third-placed Girona only two points worse off and due to host them in a potentially pivotal clash on May 4.

In the circumstances, they can afford no slip-ups this weekend against a side fighting for their lives inside the relegation zone and three points adrift of safety.

Cadiz have rallied in recent weeks, collecting eight of their 25 points to date from the last five games – including a famous 2-0 home win over top-four side Atletico Madrid on March 9 – and they boast a 2-1 home victory and a 1-0 success at the Nou Camp, as well as two draws, in seven meetings with the Spanish aristocrats since returning to LaLiga in 2020.

Xavi said: “They have only lost one game in the last five, they have beaten Atletico at home… a lot is at stake. Life is going for them football-wise in every way, they are playing for the season.”

Luis Enrique has no qualms over going into battle with former club Barcelona as he attempts to end Paris St Germain’s quest for Champions League glory.

The 53-year-old Spaniard guided Barca, for whom he had made 300 appearances as a player, to European glory as manager in 2015 and was handed the task of repeating the feat with the big-spending French champions last summer.

The two sides go head-to-head in the first leg of their quarter-final showdown at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday evening with no question over where Enrique’s loyalties lie.

He told a press conference: “Of course I like Barcelona, but I’m very pleased to be here at PSG. I just need to focus on my job and this team and building confidence here.

“I think I’m capable of bringing trophies to this club and I’m full of desire to be at the top level in this tie.”

Enrique’s former team-mate Xavi – who he sent on as a late replacement for Andres Iniesta in the 3-1 2015 final victory over Juventus in Berlin – will be in the away dugout as the Catalan giants attempt to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2019.

However, the PSG boss is not convinced his inside knowledge will do him any good.

Enrique, who will be without the suspended Achraf Hakimi, said: “I have to say that I don’t know Xavi at all as a coach. I know about him as a player – he was my team-mate – I know about him as a footballer, but not as a coach.

“I know the club very well, I know Barcelona and the players, but I don’t know if that could be an advantage. Maybe it could be the opposite.”

PSG, who are on a 27-game unbeaten run in all competitions, have not made the quarter-finals in three seasons, while five-time winners Barca have gone out in the group stage in each of the last two campaigns.

The sides are meeting in the last eight for the fourth time with Barca having come out on top in the last two in 2012-13 and 2014-15, with the French giants getting the better of their Spanish opponents back in 1994-95.

PSG held sway the last time they were last paired together – in the last 16 – three seasons ago when Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick secured a 4-1 first-leg victory at the Nou Camp after Lionel Messi had opened the scoring from the penalty spot before both men scored in a 1-1 draw in the return.

However, perhaps the most remarkable tie in which the two clubs have been involved came at the same stage of the 2016-17 campaign when the Catalan giants returned from the Parc des Princes on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline to win 6-1 on home turf.

Barcelona reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in four years after beating Napoli in the round of 16 and boss Xavi was feeling the “excitement” for Wednesday’s tie.

“I think the word for tomorrow, after being out of the quarter-finals for four years, is excitement,” he said in a press conference.

“We can dream and we are very motivated.

“We are enjoying our best form of the season and we will face a team prepared to win the Champions League with one of the better coaches in Luis Enrique. I have all the respect in the world for them.”

Page 1 of 27
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.