Barcelona director Deco approves European giants’ manager as Xavi’s replacement: Reports

FC Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Barcelona: Group H - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Barcelona may have found Xavi's successor.

Barcelona director Deco is reportedly eyeing FC Porto boss Sergio Conceicao as Xavi's replacement at Camp Nou.

Catalunya Radio (via Managing Barca) reports that the Barca director has approved his fellow countryman as Xavi's successor. The latter has announced that he is leaving the Catalan giants at the end of the sea

Conceicao's stock has grown at Porto where he's delivered three Primeira Liga titles and three Portuguese Cups. He's overseen 259 wins in 357 games in charge at the Estadio do Dragao. His side currently sit third in Liga Portugal, six points off the top and are also in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, with Arsenal as their opponents.

The Portuguese tactician's contract with Dragões expires at the end of the season. This gives Barcelona the perfect opportunity to launch a move for him.

Xavi announced his departure from the Catalan giants at the end of the season following a 5-3 defeat to Villarreal. His side have struggled to replicate their La Liga title-winning 2022-23 campaign, sitting third, 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid at present.

The Blaugrana have been linked with several European coaches as Xavi's potential replacement. These include Arsenal's Mikel Arteta, Real Sociedad's Imanol Alguacil and Michel Sanchez (Girona), per FC Barcelona Noticias.

However, Conceicao appears to be Barca's top candidate to succeed Xavi. Deco is seemingly an admirer of the Portuguese coach who has been in charge of Porto since 2017.

Deco confirms Barcelona will appeal Vitor Roque's red card in their 3-1 win against Alaves

Vitor Roque was controversially sent off.
Vitor Roque was controversially sent off.

Barcelona put the uncertainty over the managerial position at the club beyond this season to one side on Saturday (February 3). The Catalan giants beat Alaves 3-1 courtesy of goals from Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gundogan and Vitor Roque.

However, Xavi's side were forced to see out the last 18 minutes of the game with 10 men. Roque was handed a red card for two bookable offenses but one of those was extremely contentious.

The Brazilian youngster attempted to nick the ball back off Alaves defender Rafa Marin. It appeared that the Spanish centre-back was more culpable as both went to the ground off the back of their collision.

However, referee Juan Martínez Munuera handed Roque a second yellow card and subsequently gave him his marching orders. It was a decision that infuriated Barcelona.

Deco has confirmed that the club will appeal the decision (via Barca Times):

"We will try to appeal the decision on Vitor Roque and hopefully the second yellow card gets erased."

Barca's victory was a vital one as it kept them still in with a shout at successfully defending their La Liga crown. They are next in action on Sunday (February 11) when they face Granada.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett