Barcelona decide on Xavi replacement - report

  • Xavi confirmed he plans to step down as Barcelona head coach earlier this year
  • Former midfielder insists he will not change his mind
  • Report claims Barcelona have reached a decision on his replacement
Xavi is expected to leave Barcelona this summer
Xavi is expected to leave Barcelona this summer / Fran Santiago/GettyImages

Barcelona have decided that they will promote Rafael Marquez to first-team manager if they find themselves forced to replace Xavi this summer, a report claims.

Xavi confirmed earlier this year that he plans to step down at the end of the season and, amid several calls for him to stay on and continue the club's impressive run of form, he recently stressed he will not change his mind.

According to SPORT, Barcelona are no longer looking for a replacement for Xavi and have decided that if they cannot convince the current boss to continue, they will turn to Marquez.

The former Mexico international, who spent seven years as a player at Camp Nou between 2003 and 2010, has impressed since returning to the club to take charge of Barca Atletic, and the report claims he is now the only candidate under consideration to replace Xavi.

While hope of keeping Xavi has not yet vanished, his insistence that nothing could change his mind has left club officials aware that they may be fighting a losing battle.

Rafa Marquez
Marquez could be Barcelona's next manager / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Barcelona have searched for possible replacements for Xavi but have now ruled out moves for managers with high termination clauses, such as Sporting CP's Ruben Amorim or Brighton's Roberto De Zerbi.

Former Germany manager Hansi Flick is seen as the only feasible external candidate as he is available for free, but concerns over his inexperience in Spain and high salary demands have seen club officials cool talk of a move for Flick.

As a result, the focus is now on Marquez, whose knowledge of the club's academy also works in his favour.

Marquez will be promoted to first-team coach only if president Joan Laporta fails to convince Xavi to stay on. He hopes to keep Xavi and will spend the next few weeks trying to reach a positive resolution with the current boss before switching his attention to Marquez.