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Xavi Hernández has revealed that the Barcelona players feel guilty that Frank Rijkaard is set to leave the club after the team failed to win a trophy for the second consecutive season, but welcomed Pep Guardiola.

The Catalan playmaker spoke out after the decision to change coaches was made on Thursday afternoon by the Blaugrana and he stated that the media were revelling in the fact that could be a crisis at the club.

Rijkaard will leave Barça after a five-year stay at the end of June following the news that the club want a change and will promote Guardiola from his current role as the B team trainer.

“We the players feel very guilty about everything that has happened, we think we could have done much more to stop things from coming to this," Xavi explained. "But there has never been a lack of attitude or the right working mentality, everybody is responsible for this situation, but the main ones to blame are the players. The board has done all they can, we had some great players but didn’t have a great team.

“The club can’t go two seasons without winning anything, so for that reason I have to say it’s a crisis” he admitted. “A fortnight ago there wasn’t one, but it seems that you lot (the press) were expecting one.

"“We gave it all we could, we made it to the semi finals of the Champions League and the Cup, but in the League we have not lived up to expectations. I don’t like having to talk of failure, but it has been a poor season”.

Xavi was full of praise for Rijkaard and believes that the Dutchman will be, and should be, fondly remembered for the success that he brought tot he club.

“He deserves the very best. He treats people marvellously, he talks about things, he’s kind, and nobody could wish him any harm. He sets an example on all levels, as a coach and as a person; he has left his mark on the squa. If he had won things he would have stayed," he continued.

"Football isn’t fair, but that’s the way it works.” The player from Terrassa was asked what Rijkaard’s mood had been like in training, and replied that “he was serene and calm and asked us to play our last two games with dignity."

Now Xavi is looking forward to working with his former team-mate at Barça after hearing that Guardiola will become the new first team coach.

“He is somebody with a strong personality and has all the experience in the world because he has witnessed Barça in so many different senses. As a footballer his was a major presence both in the dressing room and on the pitch," he added.

“Rijkaard has left his mark and we hope that Guardiola, as he did as a player, can do likewise as a manager."

Lucas Brown,


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