The chances for Xavi Hernández to salvage Barcelona’s season — and likely his own job — are quickly fading. Barcelona has seen its best two chances of getting a title in this campaign evaporate. Xavi’s side exited the Copa del Rey quarterfinals after losing in added time at Athletic Bilbao 4-2 on Wednesday, a loss that came two weeks after Barcelona was dismantled by Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

It just has the Spanish league and the Champions League to play for, and both look like long shots. Barcelona is in third place in La Liga, eight points adrift of leader Girona and seven behind Madrid. While Xavi did lead Barcelona back into the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time in three years, it is clearly one — or two — notches below the likes of Manchester City, Madrid and other heavyweights.

The 44-year-old Xavi, whose only other coaching experience was in Qatar, has recognized that a season without silverware will likely be too much for even a club great and fan favorite like him to survive despite a contract through to the end of next season.

“All the coaches of big clubs depend on winning titles,” Xavi said after the loss in Bilbao. (Cristiano Ronaldo Buys ‘Billionaires Island’ In Dubai – Report)

 Official: Xavi becomes the most losing Spanish coach in FC Barcelona’s history.

 Managing Barça (@ManagingBarca) January 24, 2024

“It is a fact, if we are not playing at a competitive level the normal thing would be for me to go. This is a major club. I am at Barça. Today we fought and worked hard, (but) if you don’t win, the coach takes the blame.”

Xavi returned to coaching his boyhood club in November 2021 and successfully led an overhaul of the team — financed by the club mortgaging its future — to win La Liga last season, its first major title since the exit of Lionel Messi. But Barcelona has been erratic this season, when it was supposed to get younger and fitter, after the departures of veterans Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba to play with Messi in Miami.

Barcelona also lost key midfielder Gavi Páez and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to injuries, but high-profile reinforcements Ilkay Gundogan and João Félix have yet to make up for their loss. Fortunately for Xavi, his team returns home to host Villarreal in the league on Saturday. Villarreal is winless in its last four games overall and in 14th place.

“We must win on Saturday,” Xavi said.

“This team will turn it around by winning games. We must focus on the Spanish league and the Champions League.” Madrid is also in action on Saturday when it makes a trip to the Canary Islands to face a tricky Las Palmas.

Normally, this would look like a relatively easy outing for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. But Las Palmas is exceeding expectations for a modest club that won promotion last season. Las Palmas is in eighth place thanks to the second-stingiest defense which has allowed only 17 goals. Madrid has the best defense with only 13 goals allowed. Surprising front-runner Girona, which has played one more game than Madrid and Barcelona, will visit Rafa Benítez’s Celta Vigo on Sunday.

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