Ex-Barcelona captain Xavi is the favourite to take over if Ronaldo Koeman leaves the club following defeat in the Champions League at Benfica, says Max Liu…
Xavi Hernandez is the 2/1 favourite to succeed Ronaldo Koeman as manager of Barcelona after the Catalan giants were hammered 3-0 by Benfica in the Champions League last night.
The defeat followed their 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich at Camp Nou last month and means Barcelona have lost their first two matches in a Champions League campaign for the first time ever. They are bottom of Group E and odds against to qualify for the knockout stages.
Xavi spent 17 years at Barcelona as a player before his departure in 2015. He is one of the most decorated players in the club’s history and captained them to Champions League glory. He is currently managing Qatari club Al-Sadd.
Atletico on Saturday could be make or break for Koeman
Koeman is under pressure, with Barcelona sixth in La Liga, having played six, won three and draw three. They are out to 5.79/2 in the La Liga title betting and are just 15/8 to finish outside the top 4 ahead of a crucial trip to champions Atletico Madrid this Saturday.
Defeat in the Spanish capital this weekend could have huge implications for Koeman and our tipster Tom Victor has already warned that Diego Simeone’s men looked primed to get a result.
Spain’s big clubs are notoriously ruthless when it comes to firing underperforming managers. Koeman is said to have the support of the dressing room, and is a former-Barcelona player, but European football journalists say his future in the dugout is in jeopard after last night’s defeat.
? Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 29, 2021
Barcelona are in a period of transition, with the club adjusting to life without Lionel Messi and trying to get their finances in order under the recently-elected president Joan Laporta.
For that reason the job may not appeal to some of the more illustrious managers who are currently available. Antonio Conte is 10/1 and Joachim Low is 14/1.
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa is a 16/1 shout – a truly intriguing prospect, as long as you’re not a Whites fan – and Luis Enrique, the Spain boss who was in charge when Barca last won the Champions League in 2015, is 19/1.