Xavi Hernandez said on Tuesday he felt "liberated" after announcing that he would step down as Barcelona coach at the end of the season.

The former Barca midfielder said he would leave the club following a damaging 5-3 defeat by Villarreal last weekend which left his team well off the pace in their La Liga title defence.

Xavi had repeatedly said the job was his "dream" but admitted the pressure of the role eventually proved too much.

"You are made to feel every day that you are not good enough," he told reporters ahead of Wednesday's game against Osasuna.

"It happened to all the coaches: Pep (Guardiola) told me, it happened to (Ernesto) Valverde, I saw Luis Enrique suffer."

Barcelona, who have struggled with financial issues in recent seasons, appointed Xavi as boss in November 2021 and he helped turn their fortunes around, lifting the league title last term.

But the Catalan giants sit 11 points behind surprise leaders Girona this season, were thrashed 4-1 by rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup and were dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao.

"We have to think, we have a problem with the requirements of this position," Xavi added.

"The announcement liberated me on a personal level, but I remain very motivated."