Why Xavi turned down the chance to manage Barcelona for the second time

Why Xavi turned down the chance to manage Barcelona for the second time

Xavi was the first choice of Josep Bartomeu to replace Quique Setien at Barcelona (Picture: Getty)

Barcelona are on the verge of confirming Ronald Koeman as their new head coach but the former Everton and Southampton boss was not the first choice of under-fire club president Josep Bartomeu.

The 57-year-old is expected to replace Quique Setien, who was dismissed on Monday after less than eight months in the job, imminently once Barcelona agree a compensation package with the Dutch Fooball Association.

Koeman will be inheriting a team in chaos and a squad totally demoralised as a consequence of last Friday’s 8-2 Champions League quarter final defeat against Bayern Munich.

Barcelona are reported to have put the overwhelming majority of their current squad up for sale, while Lionel Messi is set to be contemplating his future with only a year left to run on his current contract.

Despite that gloomy outlook, Koeman is relishing the opportunity to take control of his former club, saying: ‘Yes, I would like to (manage Barcelona). But it is only definitive when the signature has been put.

Ronald Koeman is set to be appointed as Barcelona’s new head coach (Picture: Getty)

‘Until then I cannot say anything about it. Even if I would like to.’

Bartomeu, meanwhile, was already clinging to power at Camp Nou having overseen a steady decline in the club’s fortunes both on and off the pitch.

The 57-year-old was largely responsible for blowing the windfall Barcelona received when they garndered a world record transfer fee for Neymar three years ago and his lack of pulling power has again been highlighted by Xavi’s latest snub.

The Al-Sadd head coach was Bartomeu’s first choice to succeed Ernesto Valverde following his sacking in January but the 40-year-old opted to remain in Qatar.

According to AS, Bartomeu sounded the former Barcelona skipper out again prior to Friday’s debacle against Bayern, but was knocked back again.

Barcelona’s record appearance maker is said to have already started planning for next season with Al-Sadd and has already convinced former Arsenal star Santi Cazorla to join the club.

Back in January, Xavi is said to have spent three days mulling over a return to Barcelona and was unconvinced he would be granted the tools required to undertake a seismic rebuilding job.

Bartomeu was reportedly ready to hand Xavi a greater influence, but his top candidate remained dubious and felt he would have to make do with more shot-term fixes and turned the job down for a second time.

MORE: Barcelona would have to change their name if Lionel Messi leaves, says Samuel Eto’o

MORE: Ronald Koeman lines up Man Utd target Donny van de Beek as his first Barcelona signing

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