Barcelona reaches out to a manager who has been out of work for 11 years to replace Xavi

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has already reached out to a former Blaugrana boss who last managed a team in 2013, according to reports in Spain, as they line up candidates to replace Xavi.

Last week, Xavi announced his intention to step down from his head coach role at the Camp Nou following a 5-3 defeat to Villarreal.

“I will leave Barcelona in June,” he said in a press conference. “We have reached a point of no return. It’s time for change. As a Culé, I think that it’s time to leave. I spoke with the board and the club today.”

Xavi added: “Everything will be calmer now, we can compete for the Champions League… at least with this decision you [the press] won’t kill me anymore. The club will improve with this decision.”

The 44-year-old, who was appointed Barcelona boss in November 2021 following the departure of Ronald Koeman, has won 76 games out of a possible 122.

Several high-profile candidates have been linked with the job, including Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi, who is being ‘strongly considered’ by sporting director Deco, according toMarca.

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is also admired, as is Barca B coach Rafa Marquez; the former Mexico international who spent seven trophy-laden years at the Camp Nou.

But arguably the most surprising name on the list is former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard.

Rijkaard, 61, spent five years in charge of Barca between 2003 and 2008 before spells in charge of Galatasaray and Saudi Arabia’s national team; a job he left in 2013.

Image credit: Getty

Now, Barca president Joan Laporta has been in touch with Rijkaard to gauge his interest in the role, sayMarca.

In fact, Laporta, who has brought back a number of former players and coaches in recent years – including Juliano Belletti and Bojan Krkic – has suggested hiring Marco van Basten as his assistant.

Rijkaard, however, has previously stated that he has ‘no intention’ of returning to coaching.

That being said, the report says that he has ‘not closed the door completely’ and Laporta remains optimistic of a return, 18 years after he guided Barcelona to the Champions League title.

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