Report: Barcelona players want PSG coach Luis Enrique to replace Xavi Hernández


Despite coming under pressure following a poor run of performances and results, Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernández surprised us all on Saturday by announcing he would be leaving his position at the end of the season following a dramatic 5-3 home defeat against Villarreal.

Barça started the season in fine form but have tailed off to the extent they are now 10 points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, who thrashed them in the Spanish Super Cup final. The Catalans have conceded 29 goals in their last 12 competitive fixtures, including nine in two games this week against Athletic Club, who knocked them out of the Copa del Rey in the quarter-finals, and Villarreal.

Márquez and Motta among names linked

Attention has quickly turned to who could replace him in the dugout for 2024-25, with ‘B’ team boss Rafa Márquez saying he “couldn’t say no to an opportunity like that” just moments after Xavi revealed he would be leaving.

Bologna manager – and former Barça player – Thiago Motta has also been linked, as have Porto coach Sergio Conceição and Michel, currently working wonders with LaLiga surprise package Girona. Even the name of Jürgen Klopp, who revealed last week he would be leaving Liverpool in the summer, has optimistically been mentioned, although the German is planning a sabbatical of sorts.

Barça players fans of Luis Enrique

According to Catalan sports daily Sport, though, there is one man the players themselves want above anyone else: Luis Enrique. The Paris Saint-Germain coach and ex-Barça midfielder, of course, already had a spell in charge between 2014 and 2017, winning two LaLiga titles, three Copas del Rey and a Champions League, among other trophies.

Sport claim the current Barça roster see him as the ideal man for the job, with senior figures Marc-André ter Stegen and Sergio Roberto having already tasted success under him, while younger members of the squad, including Pedri, Gavi, Ferran Torres and Alejandro Balde, have sung his praises during their time with him with the Spain national team.

PSG coach “open” to Barcelona return

Luis Enrique has previously spoken fondly about his Barcelona tenure and claimed he would be delighted to return in an interview several years ago: “I’ve always left the door open to going back to my old teams. My time at Barcelona was wonderful and I’ll always be grateful for it.”

The 53-year-old is, however, under contract with PSG until the summer of 2025, which may complicate matters. After a shaky start in France, the Parisians have opened up a five-point lead at the top of Ligue 1, are through to the Champions League Round of 16 and won the Trophée des Champions (the French Super Cup) at the start of January.

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