Next Barcelona manager odds: Xavi favourite, Roberto Martinez and Andrea Pirlo linked with job after Ronald Koeman exit

After a turbulent 14 months in charge, Koeman was sacked on Wednesday night following a 1-0 defeat at Rayo Vallecano that left Barca ninth in La Liga, six points behind leaders Real Madrid who beat them 2-1 on Sunday.

Xavi left Barcelona in 2015 after being a key part of the club’s golden era, helping them to win La Liga eight times and the Champions League on four occasions.

The 41-year-old ended his playing career with Qatari club Al Sadd and then became their manager in 2019, and has already led them to seven trophies, including the league last season.

One of his players at Al Sadd is Santi Carzola and the former Arsenal midfielder told Marca this week of how ingrained Barcelona are in Xavi’s methods.

Carzola said: “He wants the ball and we train based on rondos, possession, position play…pure Barca school, to defend with the ball.

“I think that he understands football that way and he practices it. It’s not unique, but perhaps, in having the ball, Xavi is unique.

“At La Roja, when we were team-mates, he always had that philosophy of football. It was very clear.”

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