Only one candidate remains in race to replace Xavi at Barcelona


BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 08: New FC Barcelona Head Coach Xavi Hernandez (L) and Joan Laporta, President of FC Barcelona walk across the pitch during a press conference at Camp Nou on November 08, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

The head coach position at FC Barcelona is subject to a lot of uncertainty since Xavi Hernandez announced his decision to leave the club at the end of the season, but the coming few weeks can be crucial for the Catalan side in this aspect.

Although Xavi has already announced his departure, there are some conditions whose meeting can allow the Barcelona head coach to remain in his position beyond the current season.

The most prominent of these conditions are going far in the Champions League and making a significant investment in the squad in the coming summer transfer window.

The two upcoming matches against Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid can effectively determine the outcome of this season for Barcelona and Xavi.

In case everything goes well, Xavi can stay, but Laporta will ask him to explain his reasons for staying in a press conference by himself, the same way that he announced his departure.

However, if these next weeks do not go exactly as planned, and Xavi ultimately leaves the club at the end of the season, Mundo Deportivo reports that there is now only one candidate remaining in the fight to replace Xavi, i.e., the Barcelona Atletic coach Rafa Marquez.

There were several coaches linked with Barcelona earlier, but almost all of them have been ruled out now. Only the option of Hansi Flick remains, and that too only because he is free.

Roberto de Zerbi’s option is also looking increasingly unlikely, especially as he has a high release clause in his Brighton contract. Luis Enrique is one of the ideal replacements for Xavi, but bringing him back to Barcelona now is almost impossible.

On the other hand, Rafa Marquez enjoys several advantages over these other previous candidates, which means he is now the only likely option to replace Xavi. For instance, his results with Barcelona Atletic have been highly impressive, as he has led the B team to a fight for the promotion for the second consecutive season.

Similarly, his knowledge of Barcelona youth players is also crucial, as the Catalans will have to rely a lot on their academy as their finances remain weak.

He also has a good relationship with both Laporta and Deco, and thus the decision makers at Barcelona are now in an agreement that Marquez would be the best-suited candidate to replace Xavi, in case the latter actually leaves the club.

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