Barcelona president Joan Laporta ‘has picked new manager’ to replace Ronald Koeman

Barcelona: Koeman hopes Messi stays for 'many more years'

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta has reportedly decided to sack manager Ronald Koeman at the end of the season, with former player Xavi being considered as his successor. Barcelona were in with a chance of winning La Liga going into the tail end of the season, but recent results have seen them drop out of the title race.

They have failed to win their last three league games, drawing with league leaders Atletico Madrid and Levante, before being defeated 2-1 by Celta Vigo on Sunday.

That poor run of results means they now sit seven points behind Atletico and five behind Real Madrid.

As a result, reports from Spain have claimed that Koeman is set to be sacked, with Spanish outlet Sport naming Xavi as the man Laporta wants in charge of Barcelona next season.

It is claimed that the former midfielder is viewed as the ideal replacement because of his history with the club and knowledge of their style of play.

JUST IN: Barcelona chief Joan Laporta ‘decides to sack Ronald Koeman’

The report also notes that Xavi ‘was always considered the heir to Pep Guardiola’ both as a player and now as a manager.

Laporta is said to view Koeman as ‘another president’s coach’ and he wants to put his own stamp on the club by replacing him.

Speaking ahead of his side’s defeat to Celta Vigo, Koeman addressed his future, saying: “I cannot explain much of what happened in the meeting with Laporta.

“I can’t explain much. We spoke about Barcelona, the team, the latest results… We have arranged to talk when the season ends.”

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Former Barcelona star Rivaldo believes Koeman deserves to be in charge next season, praising him for producing “some solid work” amid a “phase of turbulence at the club”.

He told Betfair: “I think we should also take the positives from this season in which no one seemed to believe in Barça’s chances of winning La Liga thanks to a phase of turbulence at the club that led to a new president, new coach, etc.

“Despite this late slump at La Liga that might be crucial for title purposes, Barcelona ended up winning Copa del Rey and having a nice performance at the second half of the season when Ronald Koeman found a better tactical system of 3-5-2.

“In a very tough season for the club with many options in the squad and even at the presidency, the Dutch manager produced some solid work.

“Bring through some young talents while keeping the team competitive, so, I consider he deserves the confidence of Juan Laporta for next season.

“Next season with all the previous mess settled, Barcelona should have conditions to stabilise and fight for all the trophies with Koeman in charge.

“With the possibility of signing Sergio Aguero and keeping Lionel Messi at the club, I’m sure that Barcelona might quickly get back to where they belong – becoming a fearsome team capable of beating any club and winning every title.”

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