Barcelona Femení’s Champions League-winning coach Jonatan Giráldez has confirmed he will leave the club after receiving an offer from “outside of Europe” amid reports he will move to the NWSL next year.
Giráldez, 32, will remain in charge of Barça until the end of the campaign when his contract expires.
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Relevo have reported that Giráldez has been offered the vacant managerial position at NWSL club Washington Spirit.
He said he had not planned to leave Barça after leading them to back-to-back Liga F titles, but decided to accept another proposal that he received during an impasse while negotiating a new deal with the Catalan club.
A source told ESPN last Friday that Giráldez was planning on leaving Barça and had communicated his decision to his superiors in order to give the club time to formulate a contingency plan ahead of next season.
“I communicated to the club a few days ago my intention to not renew my contract,” Giráldez said in a hastily arranged 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.”
Reports last week suggested Giráldez had given the green light to an offer from the NWSL, but he said he was not in a position to confirm his next move yet.
“I can only say it’s outside of Europe,” he added. “I would not want to compete against Barça.”
Giráldez said the job had not taken its toll on him at Barça and that he would happily have continued if he had not received another proposal that made him reconsider his future. He denied the move was based solely on money.
“If I was only deciding based on that, I would have left before,” he explained. “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 do with the objective of developing personally.”
Giráldez replaced Lluís Cortés as Barça coach, having previously been part of Cortés’s staff, in 2021 and has enjoyed great success during his two years in charge.
Barça have won Liga F in each of the last two seasons, including winning all 30 of their league games in 2021-22, and have also reached the last two Champions League finals.
They were beaten by Lyon in 2022, but came from 2-0 down to beat Wolfsburg 3-2 in this year’s final, winning the competition for the second time in their history.
That success saw Giráldez nominated for The Best FIFA Women’s Coach Award 2023 earlier this week, along with Chelsea’s Emma Hayes and England’s Sarina Wiegman.
Giráldez’s decision is part of a wider period of change at Barça, with sporting director Markel Zubizarreta recently leaving to join the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in the same role.
Zubizarreta has been replaced by Marc Vivés, who has a lot of work on his hands with several players also out of contract next summer.
That list includes Alexia Putellas, the 2021 and 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, England international Lucy Bronze, Mapi León, Mariona Caldentey, Sandra Paños, Asisat Oshoala and Marta Torrejón.