Deco rules out two candidates to replace Xavi at Barcelona

Former footballer Bojan Krkic (L) and Barcelona's Sports Director Anderson de Souza Deco wait for the start of the the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and CA Osasuna at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys in Barcelona on January 31, 2024.
Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

One of the most urgent pieces of business that FC Barcelona have on their hands in the coming months is to find and appoint a worthy successor for Xavi Hernandez.

The current Barcelona coach has already announced his decision to leave the club at the end of the season, and a lot of news coming out of the club is related to the managerial aspect of the club.

There have been rumors afloat that Xavi’s decision to leave the club has something to do with the Sporting Director, Deco. These rumors were further fanned when Deco appeared in an interview recently and talked about the need for a change of direction and paradigm at the club.

However, as Mundo Deportivo has reported, the Sporting Director once again talked to the media to explain how his statements in the prior interview had been distorted and misreported:

“Xavi submitted his resignation. He will stay until the end of the season, but no more. He revealed that he does not feel capable of giving the team the change it needs. That things need to change very deeply… At least we agree on the need for a radical change after today.”

“So radical that Xavi himself said the club needs a new direction. We have to find a coach. Who, that’s the problem. In this, the president also agrees with me. Xavi is a representative of the Barcelona paradigm who is leaving the club. Now we have to find a solution.”

Deco also almost ruled out the appointment of Jurgen Klopp as the Barcelona coach next season, and also explained the club’s difficulties in appointing a top coach:

“He [Klopp] says he wants to take a break from coaching for a while… We have a serious financial problem on our hands, and that was one of the reasons I was hired.”

“We don’t have the money for the investments that other millionaire clubs make, and that discourages any coach who comes here eager to win everything immediately. Unfortunately, we can’t provide the means to do it. Not at this stage.”

In addition to Klopp, Deco also ruled out one of his compatriots from taking the top job at Barcelona:

“For now, all hypotheses are on the table. But which Portuguese coach? How many Portuguese coaches are ready for the weight and responsibility of taking care of Barcelona, especially this Barcelona with all the difficulties it entails? Tell me.”

“I know Rubén Amorim is doing a good job at Sporting and, besides, plays with a style similar to ours. But he also has very little experience.”

Deco also recognised that Barcelona cannot be expected to remain trophyless even at a time when the club is going through a rebuild, and how the last few weeks have brought the Catalans back to reality:

“We don’t know what will happen from now on, if this project will progress and be successful. I am at a club that, despite going through a phase of change, cannot go for long without winning.”

“We recently lost the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao, and in the end, I even thought it might be good because we could focus more on the league and the Champions League, where we’ll face Napoli in the knockout stage and approach it with the ambition to reach the quarter-finals.”

“Suddenly, we look at reality and see ourselves increasingly far from the top of the table and needing to regain morale to not lose our place in the Champions League next season. Things changed quickly.”

Reiterating the club’s economic problems once again, Deco also mentioned the Camp Nou renovations as one of the causes for Barcelona’s strained finances at this time:

“There’s something that many people forget and that happens in practically all clubs that don’t receive high levels of funding from the State. This board started a project that included the renovation of the stadium, and this has enormous costs.”

“The new Camp Nou will be a source of pride for all Barcelona fans, but it required a tremendous financial effort that was reflected in strengthening the team.”

“Of course, everyone says that Barcelona is a club that develops players and creates new talent every year, but this process needs to be done intelligently. You can’t just take a group of youngsters, give them a Barcelona jersey, and expect them to win titles overnight.”

While recognizing that the current team has not always gotten the expected results, Deco was clear that going to the market remains the only way for Barcelona to regain its past heights:

“We are in a transitional phase. Could we have had better results in many situations? Perhaps. The team didn’t always show, in many games, the physical and athletic ability with which it could overcome its rivals.”

“But there’s no escaping reality. We are going through a difficult phase in many areas; we don’t have the money to go out into the market to seek reinforcements who already have a name and still want to win titles.”

“We have to bet on people like that boy you saw, Vítor Roque, who has everything to be a top striker but is very young, he’s 18 year old, and we’ll need to support him. But he’s an example that we are still working well in many aspects.”

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