Barcelona have reportedly prepared a three-man shortlist for the managerial position vacated by Ronald Koeman's dismissal. Names on the list include club legend Xavi Hernandez, River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo and Barcelona B coach Sergi Barjuan.
Barcelona continued their dismal start to the 2021-22 season over the last four days. The Blaugrana suffered a 2-1 defeat at the Nou Camp to arch-rivals Real Madrid in El Clasico on Sunday (October 24). Barcelona then followed it up with a 1-0 defeat at Rayo Vallecano last night (October 27).
The twin defeats have left the Catalan giants languishing in ninth place in La Liga with just four wins from 10 matches. Barcelona have scored just 15 goals and have conceded 11 in those matches. They are also third in their UEFA Champions League group with just one goal and one win from three matches.
The defeat to Vallecano signaled the end of Koeman's time at the club in which he had excelled as a player. Barcelona released a statement on their official website a few hours after the match which read:
"FC Barcelona has relieved Ronald Koeman of his duties as first team coach. The president of the club, Joan Laporta, informed him of the decision after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano."
The statement also said:
"Ronald Koeman will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday at the Ciutat Esportiva. FC Barcelona wishes to thank him for his service to the Club and wishes him all the best in his professional career."
On the back of his exit from Barcelona, reports from RAC1 (via Metro) have stated that the club have three managers in mind to take over the club. They are Xavi Hernandez, Marcelo Gallardo and Sergi Barjuan.
Al Sadd manager Xavi in pole position to land Barcelona jig
Xavi Hernandez has long courted the idea of returning to Barcelona, his boyhood club, in a managerial capacity. The Spaniard left the club in 2015 on the back of a historic treble to join Qatari side Al Sadd.
Xavi spent four years as a player for Al Sadd before completing his coaching badges and becoming their manager in 2019. In the years since, the Barcelona legend has collected multiple trophies.
Xavi has led Al Sadd to one Qatari league title, two Qatari League Cups, two Qatari Cups, one Qatari Stars Cup and one Qatari Super Cup. Under his reign, the side have also won 61 of their 89 matches while losing 16.
Marcelo Gallardo, the other manager rumored to be in the running for the Barcelona job, has been at River Plate for the last seven years. Gallardo has transformed the Argentine side into an extremely tough unit with his high-intensity playing style.
The 45-year-old has managed River Plate in 351 matches in which they have collected 188 wins, 89 draws and 74 losses.
Sergi Barjuan, on the other hand, is only being considered as an interim option. Barjuan, who is in charge of Barcelona B at the moment, is likely to take over the first team for a brief period before Xavi or Gallardo arrive at the club.