Lionel Messi left Barcelona this summer to sign for Paris Saint-Germain but he has strong views on the club’s managerial position following the sacking of Ronald Koeman
With Koeman sacked the club are now without a permanent coach going into this weekend’s league game against relegation-threatened Alaves but former player Lionel Messi knows who he wants to manage the club.
Messi ended his career-long association with Barca this summer when he penned a two-year contract at Paris Saint-Germain but his thoughts on the Catalan club’s coach have always carried sway.
The Argentine superstar wanted his former teammate and captain Xavi Hernandez to be appointed in the Camp Nou hotseat prior to Messi’s exit from Catalonia earlier this year.
The two played alongside each other for a decade in Barca’s first team before midfield maestro Xavi departed for Qatari club Al Sadd.
Xavi subsequently was appointed Al Sadd boss in 2019 amid constant speculation that he would one day return to Barca to coach the first team.
A report from Cadena Cope outlines how he is the club’s preferred candidate to replace Koeman and also claimed that the central midfielder has received the blessing of Messi.
Xavi is an icon of Barca and was the club’s leading all-time appearance holder (767) before being surpassed by Messi earlier this year.
Xavi has broken the Qatari domestic record for 34 league games unbeaten and has won seven trophies in his short period at the helm of the club.
His 63 wins from 95 matches in the dugout give him an impressive win percentage of 66.32 across his spell in charge.
The 41-year-old is the first-choice option among Barca’s board of directors but a swift appoint may prove to be tricky.
Former Barca left-back Sergi Barjuan – currently coach of the club’s B team – may be appointed on an interim basis with academy manager Albert Capellas another potential short-term appointment.
Last week, Xavi told an interview with 20 Minutos: “My ideal dream would be to coach Barca, that is my goal and my dream and I have never hidden it.
“I don’t know if it will happen or not, if they will need me or not, but at the moment I am happy to be in Al-Sadd and very proud of it.”
Former Barca playmaker Rivaldo has also declared his support for Xavi to succeed Koeman.
The Brazilian wrote on his Instagram account: “After the departure of Koeman, I would very much like Xavi to have this opportunity to be the new coach of Barcelona.
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“I have a lot of confidence in him to get the Club out of this situation.”
Xavi appears to be the frontrunner for the Barca post but the size and scale of the task means that there is little guarantee of success.
Despite all his success in Qatari football, the step up to an elite European club is a significant one.