HomeNew Barcelona manager: La Liga giants 'have three-man shortlist' for Xavi replacement

New Barcelona manager: La Liga giants ‘have three-man shortlist’ for Xavi replacement

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Barcelona have reduced their shortlist to three replacements for outgoing manager Xavi, according to a report.

Club legend Xavi has announced he will leave the reigning La Liga champions at the end of the season, leading to intense speculation around who will take one of the most prestigious positions in world football.

An Italian, German and Spanish coach are in the running, according to heavily-followed Spanish football reporter Gerard Moreno, via Football Espana, which says that the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are not in contention.

Brighton’s Roberto de Zerbi is the Italian “most clearly” involved, the outlet said, naming former Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick, Germany head coach Julian Nagelsmann – whose contract ends after Euro 2024 this summer – and current Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel as the likeliest candidates.

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Xabi Alonso, whose Bayer Leverkusen team moved five points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with a 3-0 win at home to Bayern on Saturday, is a legend in Spain after winning two Euro titles and the World Cup with his country between 2008 and 2012.

But the outlet said Alonso’s appointment “seems impossible” because of the demand his club will face for his services and his links to former clubs Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern, adding that the identity of the Spanish shortlistee is “perhaps the hardest to work out.”

Will Xavi leave Barcelona before the end of the season?

Xavi’s more immediate future, meanwhile, has come under scrutiny with Barca 10 points behind Madrid in third place in Spain.

Barca twice fell behind but eventually salvaged a 3-3 draw on Sunday at home to second-bottom Granada, who are seven points shy of safety and had won two of their 23 previous La Liga games.

“If Xavi didn’t hold the legendary status at the club that he has, there is absolutely no doubt at all that he would have already been relieved of his coaching duties,” said Jason Pettigrove for SB Nation.

“The performances week in and week out have become lamentable under Xavi, and that’s being polite.

“The big question now is whether it would be better to just put everyone out of their misery in the hope that the final third of the 2023/24 campaign is markedly better.”

Barcelona’s two-legged Uefa Champions League round of 16 tie against Italian opponents Napoli begins on February 21.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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