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Barcelona President ‘Really Likes’ Ex-Manchester United Boss as Candidate to Replace Xavi

Aerial view of Barcelona's Camp Nou - Joao Cancelo

Former Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has emerged as a surprise candidate to replace Xavi at Barcelona next season. Xavi has already announced his decision to leave the Camp Nou outfit following his side’s 5-3 loss at home to Villarreal in January. He admitted that the current atmosphere at the club was “cruel and unpleasant” and added that he had made his decision “some time ago”.

Several names have been rumoured to take over next season, including Luis Enrique, Mikel Arteta, Xabi Alonso, and Roberto De Zerbi. Arsenal boss Arteta was quick to shut down rumours, while Alonso has been linked to the Liverpool job after Jurgen Klopp announced his decision to leave at the end of the current season.

Ralf Rangnick Emerges As A Shock Candidate For Barca Job

Laporta ‘Really Likes’ Ralf Rangnick

According to Spanish outlet Sport, Barcelona president, Joan Laporta is reportedly a huge fan of Rangnick and “really likes him” as an option to replace Xavi. The 63-year-old had a stint at Manchester United during the 2021-22 season, although it was a challenging time for him at Old Trafford. The team finished sixth in the Premier League, winning just 11 games and suffering nine defeats in 29 games across various competitions.

Rangnick is currently in charge of the Austria national team and successfully guided them to the European Championships this summer with a second-place finish in Group F of the qualifiers. The report in Sport goes on to claim that Laporta is keen on bringing in a coach with ties to German football philosophy. As such, Klopp and Bayern Munich’s Thomas Tuchel have also been linked to the soon-to-be-vacant hot seat at Barcelona.

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Barca Want An Established Coach

Despite the links, Sport also claim that the Blaugrana might lean towards a more established name as Xavi’s successor. Ralf Rangnick faced immense criticism during his tenure at United, chief among which was Cristiano Ronaldo who claimed that he had “not even heard” of the former RB Leipzig manager. Additionally, Rangnick still has over two years left on his contract with Austria and will most likely want to see out their Euro 2024 campaign before taking up a new role.

Xavi’s impending departure from Barcelona comes amid a challenging season for the club. They currently occupy the third position in La Liga, trailing leaders Real Madrid by 10 points.



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