Posted 5 months ago

Soccer General

Barcelona's Next Manager: Mourinho, Enrique, or De Zerbi?

Barcelona's Next Manager: Mourinho, Enrique, or De Zerbi?
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Jurgen Klopp surprised everyone by deciding to leave Liverpool at the end of the season. Following his move, Barcelona's coach, Xavi, also announced that he would be leaving in the summer. 

While Klopp is leaving Liverpool in good shape, the next Barcelona manager will face a challenging task of rebuilding the team due to financial difficulties.

Barcelona is currently fourth in La Liga, trailing leaders Girona by 11 points. Off the field, the club is dealing with significant debts. 

Despite these challenges, the Barcelona manager position remains attractive because the team has many talented young players. So, whoever takes over will likely see the potential and appeal of leading the team, even with the obstacles they may encounter.

Here we take a look at some of the potential contenders - including the bookmakers' early favourite - in alphabetical order.

Mikel Arteta

On Sunday, Arteta's name was trending on social media after a Spanish website reported that he was at the top of Barcelona's list and might leave Arsenal in the summer. 

Despite being the favorite among bookmakers, BBC Sport's Guillem Balague reassured Arsenal fans, saying they can relax. According to Balague, Arteta has "no intention" of leaving and is "building something special" at Arsenal.

Arteta, a former Barcelona youth player, is well-liked at Emirates Stadium. Since taking charge in 2019, he has guided Arsenal back into the Champions League and put them in contention for the Premier League title. The 41-year-old is under contract with Arsenal until 2025, and the club is confident that he will stay.

Antonio Conte

There's a free agent, a 54-year-old Italian, who's been successful at clubs like Juventus, Inter Milan, and Chelsea. 

However, his recent time at Tottenham didn't go well, and he's been without a job since March 2023.

This coach usually does well with financial support, but joining Barcelona might not be the most fitting choice for him.

Roberto de Zerbi

Roberto de Zerbi, the 44-year-old Brighton boss, is already being talked about as a potential successor to Klopp at Liverpool.

He is considered the most likely Premier League manager to replace Xavi at Barcelona. 

The Italian coach is known for his tactical skills and successfully led Brighton to sixth place last year, securing the club's first-ever entry into European competitions.

Luis Enrique

The current manager of Paris St-Germain, who is 53 years old, used to be the Spain national team coach. 

After leading Spain to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, he left the position when they were eliminated in the 2022 World Cup last-16 stage by Morocco.

His best time as a club manager was with Barcelona between 2014 and 2017. 

During this period, he won the Champions League and guided Barcelona to two La Liga titles, three Copas del Rey, the Super Cup, the Club World Cup, and the Spanish Super Cup.

Marcelo Gallardo

The 48-year-old Argentine made a name for himself at River Plate in Argentina. 

There, he played a key role in developing Premier League players Enzo Fernandez and Julian Alvarez before leaving his position in December 2022.

Although many thought he would take on a major coaching role in Europe, he took almost a year off from the game. 

In November, he became the manager of Al-Ittihad.

Rafael Marquez

The 44-year-old used to play for Mexico and is very familiar with Barcelona, making over 150 appearances for the first team. He also managed their B side.

Marquez played a big part in developing many of the young players currently in the first team. So, if he takes over after Xavi, it would be a smooth transition. 

However, since he hasn't managed at the top level much, it could be a bit of a risk.

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho recently lost his job at Roma. There's a chance he might not be considered for the Real Madrid job because he has a history with them.

Only two managers have coached both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but Mourinho is still a popular choice in betting. He was at Barcelona from 1996-2000, working under Sir Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal.

However, in 2012, he said he could never coach Barcelona after leading Inter Milan to victory against them in the Champions League before joining Real Madrid.

Thiago Motta

The former Barcelona midfielder has been making a positive impact as a manager this season. His team, Bologna, is currently in the race for a European spot in Serie A.

Despite his success, the 41-year-old Brazilian manager lacks extensive experience in coaching. Before taking charge at Bologna, he had short spells managing at Genoa and Spezia.

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