Barcelona set to confirm Xavi decision after Clasico as club legend prepares to take over
Posted by  badge Boss on Apr 18
The Catalan giants have already earmarked a successor (Picture: Getty)

Barcelona are keen to push ahead with life after Xavi and could accelerate their succession plan following this weekend’s Clasico against Real Madrid, according to reports in Spain.

The Catalan giants against Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-final of the this week, shipping four goals after Ronald Araujo was sent off.

Barca had hoped Xavi – who announced earlier this year he would be stepping down at the end of the season – would be able to guide the team to the final at Wembley, especially with now taking on in a very winnable semi-final.

But instead they crashed out and now face a crunch Clasico in La Liga; if they win at the Bernabeu they can close the gap to the league leaders to just five points, but defeat would create an 11-point deficit and effectively end the title race.

According to , Barca’s earlier-than-expected exit from the Champions League means Xavi’s future – and the managerial situation at the club – could be definitively sorted following a defeat in the Clasico.

President Joan Laporta had been clinging to the hope that Xavi might be convinced to U-turn on his decision to step down and continue at the club.

But there is now no possibility of that happening and Barcelona want to finalise the managerial situation as soon as possible, with the club’s former defender – and B team coach – Rafael Marquez now the likely candidate to take over.

Marquez is now the frontrunner to succeed Xavi (Picture: Getty)

Barca had wanted to push until the end of the season and Laporta hoped a strong finish would prompt Xavi into a rethink, but the head coach has closed the door to continuing.

The Catalan club had been exploring managerial options back in February, when Xavi first announced he would be leaving, but sporting director Deco was told to hold off by Laporta who tried to convince Xavi to stay.

Names such as Thomas Tuchel, Hansi Flick, Roberto De Zerbi and even Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta were linked with the post, but now it appears Barca will take a different approach.

Rather than appoint a big name, and with none of the available options winning over the club’s decision makers, Barca’s hierarchy are now strongly favouring Marquez.

He already knows the club well – both as a player and in his role as coach of the B team – and he has a strong relationship with the horde of youngsters who have been prompted to the first team in recent years, most of whom got their breakthroughs under him.

Marquez has done an excellent job with Barca B despite many of his brightest talents being plucked for the first team, with the side currently second in Spain’s third tier, and barring any last-minute surprise is now expected to land the top job at Camp Nou.

There will be one more consultation with Xavi after the Clasico, but he is expected to leave on good terms with an announcement on Marquez’s appointment coming at the end April or early May.

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