FC Barcelona

The candidates to replace Ronald Koeman as Barcelona manager - ranked

Andrew Headspeath
Ronald Koeman's time at Barcelona is all but up
Ronald Koeman's time at Barcelona is all but up / Fran Santiago/Getty Images
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It's finally happened.

Late on Wednesday night (or early on Thursday morning if you're a local fan), Barcelona announced that Ronald Koeman had been sacked as manager.

It was the worst kept secret in football that Barça have been trying to find a replacement for the Dutchman even before he was given his marching orders following a 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano.

With the hot seat needing to be filled again, here are ten of the supposed frontrunners ranked by likelihood of succeeding Koeman.


10. Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp
This seems unlikely / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Supposedly on a five-man shortlist, according to El Nacional, Klopp's Liverpool deal does not expire until 2024 and would not be cheap to buy out.

Money is famously a bit of an issue at Camp Nou right now, while it seems about as likely as Steve Bruce matching his FIFA 22 pace that Klopp would ditch top of the table Liverpool where he has become a God-like figure for the chaos of Barcelona.

Likelihood: 0/10

9. Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte
Who are you kidding? / Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images

Like Klopp, Conte is exactly the calibre of manager FC Barcelona should be able to attract, but things aren't what they were...

Conte may be without a club right now but it still seems improbable that he would want to take on a job as challenging as Barça, having already turned down Spurs, who - for all their faults - aren't in €1bn of debt.

Likelihood: 1/10

8. Marcelo Gallardo

Marcelo Gallardo
Gallardo has long been tipped to cross the Atlantic / Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

The 45-year-old Argentine has been hugely successful in South America, winning two Copas Libertadores with River Plate and has been a name in the frame for a top European job for some time.

While 'El Muñeco' - the Doll - has a contract with River that expires at the end of the calendar year, reports claim he intends to honour it and has already turned down Barça's advances.

Whether Barcelona would wait and try again in the new year should he fail to agree an extension is a different matter.

Likelihood: 2/10

7. Domenec Torrent

Domenec Torrent
If you can't get Pep back... / Getty Images/Getty Images

In case you don't know, Domenec Torrent was one of Pep Guardiola's chief lieutenants at Barcelona in the glory years and followed him to Bayern Munich and to Manchester City, before becoming a manager in his own right in 2018.

Noted as a master of tactics in the Pep years, Torrent has struggled more as the top dog. He had a reasonable spell at New York City FC as head coach but left after a single season, while he was sacked from Flamengo in 2020, after just 26 games in charge.

Likelihood: 3/10

6. Sergi Barjuan

FBL-CHN-ASIA-SERGI-ESP-BARCELONA
The least desirable promotion in the world? / STR/Getty Images

Promoting the B team boss has reaped huge rewards for Barcelona traditionally and if Barça loves one thing, it's clinging to traditions that have served them well in the past.

Promoting Sergi, who only took over the B team gig in June, seems like a step too far though, however cost effective it might be.

The former left back does have Barça DNA though - whatever that is still worth - and made close to 400 appearances for the club in the 90s and 00s, as well as coaching at various youth levels.

Likelihood: 4/10

5. Erik ten Hag

Erik Ten Hag
Going Dutch... again? / BSR Agency/Getty Images

Like Gallardo, Ten Hag is one of the hottest coaching names outside of the big five European leagues, having presided over a period of domestic dominance with Ajax, who he also took to within a Lucas Moura hat-trick of the Champions League final.

His Ajax links are an added bonus for the Barça rumours, naturally, but it seems he has also ruled himself out of the race - though less convincingly than some others.

Likelihood: 4/10

4. Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst
Played for Barça? Check. Is Dutch? Check. / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

A Dutch ex-Barcelona star who has moved into coaching? That's two boxes ticked.

However, while Van Bronckhorst found early success at Feyenoord, winning the Eredivisie in 2017, his managerial career has stalled and he has been out of work since December 2020 when he resigned from Guangzhou R&F.

Despite his lack of recent notable career achievements, 90min understands the former left back is a name under consideration.

Likelihood: 6/10

3. Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo
From Juventus to Barca at the worst possible times / David M. Benett/Getty Images

Former Juve and Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo oozes cool, but perhaps not managerial stability.

His one season as a head coach to date coincided with Juventus being dethroned as Serie A champions for the first time in about a millennium.

While he could only manage a fourth-placed finish with Juve, Pirlo's stock as an up-and-coming manager remains surprisingly high and he can count Joan Laporta as an admirer - perhaps because he has previously cited Johan Cruyff's Barcelona as an inspiration.

Likelihood: 6.5/10

2. Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez
Mates with Jordi Cruyff / BSR Agency/Getty Images

The man in charge of the number one ranked FIFA men's team should be out of the question for a side in as much disarray as Barcelona but maybe not.

There is a feeling that Martinez's Belgium are past their peak, while the 48-year-old Catalan native is tight with Jordi Cruyff (son of Johan and now special advisor to Laporta).

The man who took Wigan to FA Cup glory has given an unconvincing committal to his national team duties as speculation bubbles.

“There has been no contact with Barcelona. I want to fulfil my contract, but many things may arise along the way,” he told Belgian media.

If appointed, Martinez would continue the bizarre pattern of ex-Everton managers turning up at Camp Nou and give hope to a future Sam Allardyce-helmed Barça

Likelihood: 7/10

1. Xavi Hernandez

Xavi Hernandez
The inevitable Barcelona coach / Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

The inevitable Barcelona manager.

Xavi Hernandez will coach Barcelona one day, but when?

Currently the head coach at Qatari side Al Sadd, his contract supposedly has a special 'Barcelona clause' which allows him to walk for free should the bat signal go up.

90min understands that a number of people connected to Barça are actively attempting to convince Xavi to 'come home'. However, president Laporta may still need a little convincing, given how close Xavi seemingly was to his rival candidate Victor Font at this year's elections.

If that hurdle can be overcome, it seems like the time for Xavi is now, unless he decides to wait out the mess for a more stable time to start his European coaching career...

Likelihood: 8.5/10


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