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Barcelona coach Jonatan Giráldez to leave for job ‘outside of Europe’

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Jonatan Giráldez (Ramsey Cardy/UEFA via Getty Images)

Barcelona coach Jonatan Giráldez has confirmed his departure from the club amid reports that he will be making a move to the NWSL in 2024.

In announcing his departure, Giráldez said that he had received an offer from “outside of Europe.” The 32-year-old will remain in charge of reigning Champions League titleholder Barcelona until the end of the team’s current campaign, which is when his contract is set to expire.

“I communicated to the club a few days ago my intention to not renew my contract,” Giráldez said in a news conference. “I wanted the timing of the decision to allow the club the most time possible to plan for the good of the team. Also, on a personal level, I wanted to avoid the focus being on [my future] when we get to March, April-time when we are usually competing for titles.

“Since [sporting director] Marc Vivés came in, we had been negotiating [a renewal]. There were things left to negotiate, relating to my staff, and during that impasse I received another offer which I decided to accept.”

Giráldez would not confirm his next move, although reports pointed to an offer from an NWSL club. Relevo reported Monday that the offer came from the Washington Spirit, who parted ways with Mark Parsons in October after missing the playoffs this season.

Giráldez would not confirm the reports but said it was a “difficult” decision to make.

“I can only say it’s outside of Europe,” he said. “I would not want to compete against Barça.”

Giráldez denied the pressure of the Barcelona role taking a toll, and noted that he would have continued if not for the alternate offer that made him reconsider. He also denied making the move solely based on money.

“If I was only deciding based on that, I would have left before,” he said. “When I make a decision, I look at many aspects. I have received much bigger offers than the one I have now.

“I assess many different things, not just money: the challenge, the sporting project and my family. It’s a professional and a family decision. It is to do with the objective of developing personally.”

Giráldez has led Barcelona since 2021, when he took over for Lluís Cortés. He had been an assistant under Cortés for the previous two seasons. In his time as head coach, Barcelona has won Liga F in each of the last two seasons, including winning all 30 league games in the 2021-22 season. They also reached the Champions League finals in both seasons, and they won the 2023 title.

He was named to the shortlist for the Best FIFA Women’s Coach award last week, alongside Chelsea’s Emma Hayes and England’s Sarina Wiegman.