This week’s 4 biggest takeaways from Europe: Xavi announces departure, Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen slip up & more

Another week of European football is in the books, and it’s fair to say it was quite a busy one both on and off the pitch.

Xavi Hernandez announced he’s leaving Barcelona, the title races in Germany and Italy continued to heat up, and over in France, PSG somehow dropped points at home to Brest despite leading the game 2-0 at one stage.

After all that fun, here’s all the biggest talking points from around the continent.

Xavi HernandezXavi Hernandez

Leaving the club / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

The news we expected for quite a while was finally confirmed at the weekend: Xavi Hernandez won’t be the Barcelona manager next season.

The legendary ex-midfielder guided Barca to their first La Liga title in four years during the 2022/23 campaign, but ever since a fateful Jude Bellingham-induced defeat to Real Madrid, Xavi’s side have fully gone off the boil.

Since then Barca have drifted a whopping 11 points behind Girona at the top of the table, been knocked out of the Copa del Rey and suffered a thumping 4-1 defeat to Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana.

It’s not been good, and Xavi has paid the price for that.

Xabi AlonsoXabi Alonso

Wanted man / Maja Hitij/GettyImages

Xabi Alonso has officially become the hottest property in Europe thanks to Xavi and Jurgen Klopp both announcing their departures from Barca and Liverpool respectively.

And if you’ve seen this video or had a glimpse at Bayer Leverkusen’s form since he took over midway through the 2022/23 season you’ll know exactly why he’s such a hot commodity.

Plenty of Barca and Liverpool fans would’ve tuned in to see Alonso’s side in action over the weekend and, to put it bluntly, they probably picked the worst Leverkusen game to watch all season.

Leverkusen dominated the clash with Borussia Monchengladbach, accumulating 75% possession and have a whopping 28 pops at goal. The goal didn’t come however, and the result sees their lead atop the Bundesliga table cut to just two points.

Lautaro MartinezLautaro Martinez

Winning goal / Gabriele Maltinti/GettyImages

The Serie A title race between Juventus and Inter is shaping up to be one for the ages.

Inter reclaimed the driving seat in the race over the weekend thanks to their narrow win over Fiorentina, relying on a stunning header from the utterly brilliant Lautaro Martinez to get them over the line. That win capitalised upon Juventus’ slip-up at home against Empoli, with Max Allegri’s side dropping two points when they really shouldn’t have.

One point separates the sides heading into the derby on Sunday. Exciting stuff!

Luka ModricLuka Modric

Snubbed? / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

The Madrid press, in typical fashion, made a mountain out of a molehill on Saturday when Luka Modric was an unused substitute in the win over Las Palmas.

The much younger Aurelien Tchouameni was brought off the bench instead of the 38-year-old Modric by Carlo Ancelotti, and it proved to be the right decision – Tchouameni came on to score the winning goal in the 2-1 win.

Ancelotti was inevitably asked about Modric’s situation after the game, explaining that the decision not to ask him to warm up and come off the bench came out of “respect”. Which is fair enough.


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