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Motta and Michel possible candidates to coach Barcelona ahead of Xavi’s last El Clasico in charge

It’s been a season of letdowns for Barcelona and their outgoing manager Xavi Hernandez. 

Just when they thought they could catch a break in the Champions League after a 3-2 first-leg away win against Paris Saint-Germain, their quarter-final tie turned upside down. 

Ronald Araujo’s first-half dismissal paved the wave for Luis Enrique’s side to turn the tie on its head, claiming a thumping 4-1 victory in Catalunya to end Barca’s European campaign.

Unless Xavi can rally his troops relatively quickly, Los Blaugranas could wave goodbye to their faltering La Liga title defence this weekend as they head to the capital to meet Real Madrid. 

Anything other than success in Sunday’s El Clasico would probably put the final nail in the former midfielder’s coffin, with eight points separating the leading duo ahead of the kick-off.

Xavi has already announced his decision to leave Camp Nou at the end of the season, but another disappointing result in a high-stakes fixture could expedite the process. 

The Spaniard’s potential replacement is one of the major talking points ahead of the summer, with media outlets in the Iberian peninsula making wild guesses in recent months.

Rafa Marquez

Like Xavi, Rafa Marquez is a former Barcelona player with a wealth of experience at Camp Nou, which makes him a perfect candidate for the job. 

Currently in charge of the club’s ‘B’ team, the Mexican has emerged as the front-runner to fill the vacancy despite his lack of experience in elite first-team management. 

Marquez boasts an excellent relationship with Barcelona president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco, increasing his chances of taking Xavi’s place.

Thiago Motta

As another ex-Barcelona star, Thiago Motta’s name was among the first to hit the surface after Xavi’s announcement. 

He’s on the verge of guiding Bologna to their first Serie A top-four finish in the 21st century and carries a reputation as one of Europe’s most highly-rated young managers.

But the reigning La Liga holders would have to beat several Italian clubs to lure Motta back to Spain, which seems unlikely amidst the club’s financial turmoil.


Similarly to Motta’s impressive work at Renato Dall’Ara, Michel has inspired one of the most incredible stories in La Liga this season, bringing Girona to the cusp of Champions League qualification.

His football philosophy resembles Barcelona’s famous ‘tiki-taka’ system, though Girona’s scoring exploits this term indicate he has perfected the design. 

The 48-year-old could be a promising long-term solution, although he has yet to prove himself at a top club. 

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