Barcelona legend Xavi has been revealed as bookmakers’ favourite to replace Quique Setien as manager after Friday night’s Champions League humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich.
The Blaugrana – who lost out to fierce rivals Real Madrid in the 2019/20 LaLiga title race – were utterly outclassed in the one-legged quarter-final tie in Lisbon, with embarrassing Barca shipping four goals in each half to crash to their worst-ever European defeat and one of the heaviest in club history.
As well as potentially accelerating a rebuild in terms of playing personnel, such a dismal night also seems likely to spell the end of Setien’s brief Barcelona tenure.
The former Real Betis boss was appointed as the successor to Ernesto Valverde on a two-and-a-half-year deal in January, but has since come under consistent pressure, with the relinquishing of the club’s LaLiga title combined with their capitulation against Bayern making it difficult to see him continuing in the role for much longer.
Attention has inevitably already turned to who might be lined up to replace Setien in the event that he is relieved of his duties, with Xavi currently the 13/10 favourite with Betfair.
The Spaniard is an icon at Barcelona, having made 767 appearances for the club between 1998-2015, winning a whole host of trophies including eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns.
Xavi initially rejected an offer to succeed Valverde earlier this year and currently coaches Al Sadd in Qatar, though does appear to have his sights set on a return to Camp Nou in future.
Behind the 40-year-old in the current betting is Mauricio Pochettino, who has been without a job since being sacked by Tottenham in November and had been strongly linked with the vacant post at Juventus, which was later filled by Andrea Pirlo.
Barcelona B boss Garcia Pimienta, academy director Patrick Kluivert and former Chelsea and Juve coach Maurizio Sarri are next on the list, ahead of Laurent Blanc, Ronald Koeman, Marcelo Gallardo and Max Allegri.