International Soccer

Barcelona’s ‘top choice’ to replace Xavi revealed

Barcelona wanted former boss Luis Enrique to replace head coach Xavi this summer instead of Hansi Flick, according to a report.

The Catalan giants are set to appoint former Bayern Munich boss Flick as their new manager, just weeks after announcing plans for Xavi to remain in charge.

Xavi first revealed his intention to step down at the end of the season back in January following a poor run of form and a difficult summer 2023 transfer window. The club later convinced him to stay for another year before making the shock decision to part ways in May.

Flick has recently appeared as the frontrunner, but a report from Sport confirms that Paris Saint-Germain’s Enrique was the first man Barca wanted for the job.

Luis Enrique

Barca wanted to bring back Enrique / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

Enrique was identified as their main target in February, shortly after Xavi first announced his desire to leave the club. He became a notable option for sporting director Deco, but as he is under contract at PSG until 2025, a return was not seen as viable and they switched targets instead.

Flick was viewed as the more easily attainable option, with the 59-year-old keen to walk back into management after becoming the first Germany coach to be sacked since the role was created in 1926.

Enrique has, of course, been on the touchline at Barca before, leading them from 2014 to 2017. He won the Champions League, two La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey and a UEFA Super Cup while in charge of the Catalan side, becoming one of the club’s most successful managers. His PSG also eliminated Xavi’s Barcelona from this season’s Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

Xavi’s final game in charge of Barcelona came in their La Liga curtain-closer on Sunday, winning 2-1 away at Sevilla.

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