Liverpool boost as Barcelona pick Xavi replacement after Champions League exit

Will Ford
Xavi Barcelona
Xavi is leaving Barcelona at the end of the season.

Liverpool no longer have Barcelona as competition to make Ruben Amorim their next manager as the Catalans have reportedly settled on their replacement for Xavi.

The Barca legend announced he would be leaving the club in January after a 5-3 home defeat to Villarreal, and despite a significant upturn in performances and results since then, is staying true to his word.

Barcelona appoint from within

Club president Joan Laporta had reportedly hoped to change Xavi’s mind, but after their Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, has now accepted it’s time to move on.

It was recently claimed Barcelona had ramped up their pursuit of Sporting boss Amorim, who’s set to lead the Portuguese side to the league title this season, while Roberto De Zerbi and Hansi Flick were also thought to be of interest to Laporta.

But Sport now claim that he’s decided to hand the job to Rafael Marquez, who won two Champions Leagues and four La Liga titles as a player with the Catalan side, and has been managing Barcelona Atletic (formerly Barcelona B) for the past two seasons.

Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsi, Fermin Lopez and Hector Fort have all broken into the first-team this season having worked under Marquez in Barcelona’s famous La Masia, and Laporta has decided to appoint from within.

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A free run at Amorim

That seemingly leaves Liverpool with a free run at Amorim, as Bayern Munich turn their focus back to Julian Nagelsmann, though hiring the Portuguese boss – as was the case with first choice option Xabi Alonso – is far from a foregone conclusion.

Amorim has had to deny talk of a meeting or agreement with Liverpool, and his latest comments on a move to Anfield suggest the Reds may once again be disappointed.

Speaking after his side’s 4-0 win over Gil Vicente on Friday, Amorim was once asked about his future.

“A cycle has not yet ended and that depends on the characteristics of each one and on each other’s lives,” he told Record.

“I think all coaches have their own timing and it has nothing to do with [interest] of clubs, but how the coaches feel. I’m speaking generally and not about my situation.

“I don’t feel like I’ve finished a cycle, I feel like I want to keep going so this isn’t over yet, we want to win and keep moving forward.”

Sporting supporters also displayed a banner during the game, pleading “Stay Amorim!”, and the question Liverpool fans will be asking is how long he believes this “cycle” will last.

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