Al-Riyadi Beirut, the Lebanese basketball champion, maintained the title of the Dubai International Championship by winning the 33rd edition through defeating the “Strong” team of the Philippines (77-74).

The final match, which was held this evening at the Al-Nasr Club, was attended by a large audience of members of the Lebanese and Philippines communities.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon

Barcelona: Barcelona is sticking with Xavi Hernández amid a show of support for the coach despite his decision to leave at the end of the season.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta today said he will not make a coaching change and expects Xavi to remain fully committed despite not returning next season.

The president met with the coach and the squad a day after Xavi said he would leave. The coach’s announcement came following the team’s 5-3 loss at home to Villarreal in the Spanish league yesterday (Saturday).

The loss to Villarreal left Barcelona 10 points behind Spanish league leader Real Madrid. The Catalan club had already been eliminated by Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey and lost 4-1 to Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

Barcelona faces Napoli in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, a competition in which it hadn’t advanced past the group stage the last two seasons, and not since Lionel Messi was still with the club.

Laporta did not say anything about searching f
or a replacement for Xavi. The club has been struggling financially and is not in good position to sign new players.

Laporta called for ‘unity’ and thanked the club’s fans for their support despite the ‘complicated season’ that included the move to the Montjuic stadium while the Camp Nou undergoes extensive remodelling.

Barcelona said Xavi met with his players before training today to explain his decision to leave.

The coach said that ‘as a Barcelona fan’ he couldn’t allow ‘this situation to continue’ and that the team needed ‘a change of course and of dynamics.’

He said the decision to leave at the end of the season had been made before the loss to Villarreal, though the defeat helped accelerate the announcement. He hoped his decision would decrease the stress and tension that was surrounding the team and himself.

The former star midfielder returned to Barcelona as coach in November 2021 with his only experience of the position coming during a stint in Qatar. His contract was due to finish at the end of
next season.

Barcelona’s next league match is against midtable Osasuna at home this Wednesday before an away game at Alaves next Saturday.

Source: Oman News Agency