Xavi (Al Sadd)
The clear favourite to take the job. A Barcelona legend as a player, Hernandez has been coaching Qatari side Al Sadd since 2019 and has led them to seven titles: the Sheikh Jassem Cup, two Qatar Crown Prince Cups, a Qatar Stars Cup, a Qatar League and two other Emir Cups.
Crucially, Xavi is a product of the club’s La Masia academy and is regarded as one of the finest players to have ever progressed through the institution.
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His intricate knowledge of how the club operates from the youth ranks up to the senior team will put him in a strong position with the Barcelona board, while his legendary status at Barca will like win him the respect of the dressing room.
The only question mark, and it’s a big one, is whether the 39-year-old has the necessary managerial experience to be the boss of one of the world’s most renowned football clubs.
As we have witnessed at Chelsea and Manchester United, hiring a popular former player with little top level management experience does not necessarily equate to a successful time on the touchline.
Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate)
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Gallardo is in a rare position in modern football where he has held the top job at a prestigious football club for seven years. After winning the Uruguayan Primera Division in his first season as a manager in 2011/12 with Nacional, Gallardo has enjoyed great success and adulation at River Plate since his arrival in 2014.
The 45-year-old has successfully developed a team that has won three Copa Argentinas, two Supercopas, a Copa Sudamericana, three Recopa Sudamericanas and two Copa Libertadores under his guidance. That’s a lot of trophies.
He has arguably maximised what is possible in South American football and may well feel he deserves a big job on the European stage. Barcelona have hired from South America before, bringing in Gerardo Martino from Newell’s Old Boys in 2013 after being impressed by his achievements there.
One potential stumbling block with Gallardo is his contract at River Plate does not expire until December. If Barcelona are keen on the Argentine, then they would likely have to bring in an interim boss before then and wait it out.
Roberto Martinez (Belgium)
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Roberto Martinez has an outside chance of landing the Barcelona job and one key reason why it might be possible is his close relationship with assistant sporting director Jordi Cruyff.
However, reports in Spain in recent weeks have already suggested that the Barcelona board are not interested in hiring the Belgium manager because he “isn’t the best option” and they may well have a point.
Although Martinez’s style of football is thought to be in line with 'the Barcelona way', the Spaniard has only ever won two trophies as a manager and they are a League One title with Swansea City in 2008 and a shock FA Cup win with Wigan Athletic in 2013.
His five year tenure as Belgium boss has been satisfactory but not particularly inspiring. Since being in charge of the Red Devils’ ‘golden generation’, he has led the nation to a third place finish at the 2018 World Cup, the quarter-final stage of Euro 2020 and a semi-final defeat to France in the Nations League in October.
Martinez would surely take the Barcelona job if he was offered it, but he appears to be a backup option at best.
Sergi Barjuan (Barcelona B)
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It is no secret that Barcelona are in crippling debt, which could mean taking a leaf from their past and hiring the B team coach.
Sergi Barjuan is currently the coach of Barcelona’s second team who currently sit 11th in Segunda Division B Group 2 and has taken charge of the senior team on an interim basis.
Barjuan also has experience outside of Barcelona, having also been manager of Recreativo de Huelva, Almeria, Mallorca and spent 20 months at Hangzhou Greentown in China in 2017.
However, he was sacked by Almeria and Mallorca after they both got relegated with him in charge, while he was sacked by his Chinese employer in July 2019 following a run of two wins from ten matches.
Barjuan is a La Masia product and has had two stints managing in Barcelona’s setup, so there cannot be any question that he does not know the inner workings of the complex club, but his CV is not likely one that will come close to exciting the Barcelona fanbase.
Andrea Pirlo (Unattached)
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Andrea Pirlo has a reputation to rebuild and it would be remarkable if he was given the chance to do that at Barcelona.
The former Italy international won the Suppercoppa Italiana and the Coppa Italia in his one season as Juventus boss, but ultimately finishing fourth in Serie A to end a run of nine consecutive titles, while having five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in your team, was always going to result in his dismissal.
Pirlo's playing style that revolved around short intricate passing and never losing the ball is arguably why he is being linked to the Barcelona job. It is simply nicer for football fans to remember him as a player rather than for his mixed time in charge of Juve.
The former Serie A star has only got one season of top-flight managerial experience to his name and, just like it was in August 2020, it is hard to understand how off the back of none he got the Juve job in the first place.
He may be on the Barca shortlist but he looks to be an outsider for the role.
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