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Xavi to stay as Barcelona’s coach until at least June 2025

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Xavi took over as manager of Barcelona in November 2021, after leaving Qatari club Al Sadd, and led the team to the Spanish title in his first full season in charge in 2022–23. However, they are 11 points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid with six games remaining in the current season. Barcelona was eliminated from the Champions League last week after losing to Paris St. Germain in the quarterfinals.

Barcelona coach Xavi will stay with the club until at least the end of his contract in June 2025, having changed his mind about this being his final season.

The 44-year-old stated in January that he will stand down as manager this summer.

However, with president Joan Laporta desperate for him to stay, the former Barcelona and Spain midfielder has made a U-turn.

Xavi took over as manager of Barcelona in November 2021, after leaving Qatari club Al Sadd, and led the team to the Spanish title in his first full season in charge in 2022–23.

However, they are 11 points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid with six games remaining in the current season.

Barcelona were eliminated from the Champions League last week after losing to PSG in the quarterfinals.

Xavi, who won 25 honours during his brilliant playing career at Barcelona, said he felt “liberated” with the revelation that he would leave the position at the conclusion of the season.

When he announced his departure following the defeat to Villarreal, he felt he was not being safeguarded by the club and there was no clear direction.

However, the team’s fortunes have improved since Xavi felt comfortable taking a more casual attitude.

They went ten games undefeated in the league before falling 3-2 to Real Madrid on Sunday.

On Wednesday, there was a meeting at Laporta’s residence, and the club’s desire for him to stay was clear.

If Xavi is unable to strengthen the squad before the conclusion of the 2024-25 season, Barcelona will attempt to persuade one of the high-profile managers out of contract, including Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, and Mikel Arteta.

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Thiago and Matip will depart Liverpool at the conclusion of the season

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"I had the opportunity to be a part of an exciting history with a fantastic coach and an incredible squad at an unbelievable club. We have won several titles and have the finest fans in the world." The former Cameroonian international was a member of Liverpool's Champions League-winning team in 2019, setting up Divock Origi for the second goal as they defeated Tottenham in the final. The next year, Matip won the Premier League championship, the club's first in 30 years. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp stated, "In all the years I've been involved in football, I don't think I've come across many players that are more liked than Joel Matip.

Liverpool have revealed that midfielder Thiago Alcantara and defender Joel Matip will depart the club at the end of the season.

Thiago, 33, joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich in 2020 and has made 98 appearances at Anfield.

Matip, 32, has made 201 appearances and scored 11 goals for Liverpool since joining from Schalke in 2016.

Injuries have reduced the pair’s playing time this season.

Centre-back Matip hasn’t played for the Reds since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) against Fulham in December.

Thiago, a former Barcelona player, returned to action in February against Arsenal after missing the first six months of the season due to a hip injury, but a muscle problem during his brief comeback has kept him out since.

“It has been eight wonderful years here in Liverpool,” Matip stated.

“I had the opportunity to be a part of an exciting history with a fantastic coach and an incredible squad at an unbelievable club. We have won several titles and have the finest fans in the world.”

The former Cameroonian international was a member of Liverpool’s Champions League-winning team in 2019, setting up Divock Origi for the second goal as they defeated Tottenham in the final.

The next year, Matip won the Premier League championship, the club’s first in 30 years.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp stated, “In all the years I’ve been involved in football, I don’t think I’ve come across many players that are more liked than Joel Matip.

“I’m not even sure it would be possible to say anything bad about him.”

German Klopp will also quit following Liverpool’s final game of the season, against Wolves at Anfield on Sunday.

Matip and Thiago both won the FA Cup and EFL Cup with Liverpool in 2022.

Liverpool lost short of a quadruple that season, losing the league title to Manchester City by one point and the Champions League final to Real Madrid.

Thiago viewed his time at Liverpool as a “life-changing experience”.

“Appreciation and gratitude – they are two words that come to mind on the day I have to say goodbye to all of you, Reds,” he wrote in a social media post.

Klopp stated, “Before he ever got to Liverpool, I thought that if you truly love football, you should watch Thiago Alcantara play.

“I understand that injuries have been frustrating for him and us, but the level at which he could play while he was available was fantastic. “This is what I’ll remember.”

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Antoine Semenyo identifies players he sees role models

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In an interview with Premier League TV, the 24-year-old emphasised the importance of Gyan and Ayew in his career. "Obviously, Andre Ayew is still with the club, and Gyan is frequently present at games. I routinely speak with [Dede Ayew], and he pushes me to keep trying, reminding me of my potential and stating he didn't have the same talents at my age. He tells me to keep pushing and not settle for any level."

Ghana attacker Antoine Semenyo has named Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew as his role inspirations.

Semenyo, now in his second Premier League season, has been in outstanding form for AFC Bournemouth, scoring eight goals and assisting twice.

Semenyo hopes to extend his strong club success into his international duty with the Black Stars as they prepare for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Mali and the Central African Republic next month.

In an interview with Premier League TV, the 24-year-old emphasised the importance of Gyan and Ayew in his career.

“Obviously, Andre Ayew is still with the club, and Gyan is frequently present at games. I routinely speak with [Dede Ayew], and he pushes me to keep trying, reminding me of my potential and stating he didn’t have the same talents at my age. He tells me to keep pushing and not settle for any level.”

“Asamoah Gyan has also offered me similar advice, encouraging me to keep working hard. He advises me to enjoy my scoring opportunities while continually pushing myself to achieve new heights. Growing up as a Ghanaian, seeing them compete in World Cups and the Premier League was motivating. “They are great role models,” he remarked.

Semenyo has two goals for Ghana, the most recent coming in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Angola in March 2023.

He is anticipated to join the Black Stars team for the forthcoming qualifications.

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My first season in the Premier League is a success – Mohammed Kudus

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In an interview with the club's official website prior of their last home game against Luton Town, he thanked his teammates for their assistance in settling him in and underlined his desire to continue growing in the next season. "I liked my first season in England. Everyone at [the Club] has helped me adjust well, so it's been a pleasant experience. I've been here for over a whole season, but I still have a lot to show, and I feel this is only the beginning."

Mohammed Kudus, a Ghana international, considers his maiden season in the Premier League a success.

The 23-year-old, who moved from Ajax to West Ham United last summer, has emerged as an important player for the Hammers, scoring 13 goals in 43 games.

Despite recent struggles for the squad, Kudus remains optimistic about his time in England’s top flight.

In an interview with the club’s official website prior to their last home game against Luton Town, he thanked his teammates for their assistance in settling him in and underlined his desire to continue growing in the next season.

“I liked my first season in England. Everyone at [the Club] has helped me adjust well, so it’s been a pleasant experience. I’ve been here for over a whole season, but I still have a lot to show, and I feel this is only the beginning.”

He added, “I followed my gut and dream to move here and believed I was ready. When I decided to make this move to the best league in the world, I knew I was ready to take that step and I wanted to test myself. There have been ups and downs throughout the season, but I know there are more ways to improve my game. I’ve definitely announced myself here and I am happy that it has gone in that direction for the first season.”

Looking ahead, Kudus emphasised the team’s growth and the need to finish the season on a positive note.

He replied, “We can only look forward to what is ahead. Our position [in the standings] improved from the previous season to this season, so we simply need to finish as high as possible with excellent performances in the last two games and then see what happens next season.”

Kudus is expected to play a key part in West Ham’s upcoming match against West Ham, as they want to recover from a recent devastating setback to Chelsea.

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