Lionel Messi Picked Ronald Koeman's Replacement As Barcelona's Head Coach Before Leaving: Report

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Is it really farewell? Lionel Messi is reportedly all set to swap Barcelona for PSG
Is it really farewell? Lionel Messi is reportedly all set to swap Barcelona for PSG

Lionel Messi had reportedly revealed his pick for Ronald Koeman's replacement as FC Barcelona's head coach before he ended up leaving the club to join Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) this summer.

Following a 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano in an away league fixture, Barcelona sacked Koeman on Wednesday and are yet to announce a replacement. The Dutchman was the Camp Nou's in charge for 14 months. 

In the 2021-22 campaign, Barcelona have picked up just 15 points from 10 games in La Liga and have already lost twice in the group stage of this season's Champions League.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta wants to sign Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez as Koeman's replacement and negotiations with the Al-Sadd manager have already begun, reported Spanish media outlet Cadena COPE. The report has also claimed that Messi wanted his former captain to replace Koeman as Barcelona boss before he ended up parting his ways with his boyhood club. 

Messi and Xavi played together at Barcelona for 11 long years before the latter left the club in 2015. Xavi spent the next four seasons at Al-Sadd as a player before becoming the side's head coach. He has so far won four trophies with the Qatari club as manager. 

The Catalans approached Xavi with official talks weeks ago and now Laporta and Co. are looking to see if they can secure the services of the Spaniard, who is currently contracted with Qatar-based Al-Sadd. Barcelona will take time to make an official announcement regarding Koeman's replacement as the process has just started, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, who has a credible record in European soccer. 

Meanwhile, Barcelona B's head coach, Sergi Barjuan, could be an option as the first team's interim coach. 

"FC Barcelona has relieved Ronald Koeman of his duties as the first team coach. The president of the club, Joan Laporta, informed him of the decision after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano. 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," Barcelona said in an official statement


Xavi Hernandez is the leading contender to take over from Ronald Koeman
Xavi Hernandez is the leading contender to take over from Ronald Koeman
Photo: AFP / KARIM JAAFAR

Meanwhile, Xavi recently reaffirmed his desire to manage his childhood club. 

"My ideal is to coach Barca, that is my goal and my dream and I have never hidden it. I don't know if it will happen or not, if they will need me or not, but at the moment I am happy to be in Al-Sadd and very proud of it," Xavi was quoted by Barca Blaugranes, as saying in a recent interview.

Barcelona fired Koeman after the Catalans suffered a loss in three away La Liga fixtures. It is the first time since September 1987 that Barcelona have lost three away games in a row without scoring - a run that saw English manager Terry Venables sacked.

Former Barcelona forward Rivaldo, who played for the La Liga side between 1997 and 2002, has also endorsed Xavi as the ideal option to replace Koeman for the head coach's role. 

"After the departure of Koeman, I would very much like Xavi to have this opportunity to be the new coach of Barcelona. I have a lot of confidence in him to get the Club out of this situation," the Brazilian posted on Instagram.

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