Xavi Hernandez was instrumental in securing the Spanish title for Barcelona in 2022/2023 (27th title). Unfortunately, a disastrous 3-5 defeat against Villarreal on Saturday, January 27 2024, was the nail in the coffin for the team.

Xavi's announcement that he will be retiring effective June 30, 2024, sent shockwaves through the football community, with La Liga pondering Barcelona manager odds for his replacement.

The events culminating in Xavi's decision likely include Barcelona's quarter-final exit from the Copa del Rey, with a crushing 4-2 defeat in extra time.

Athletic Bilbao handed the mighty Barca a blistering defeat, crushing all hopes of winning silverware in the 2023/2024 season. This begs the question: who will step up as the new manager of Barcelona?

Barcelona is currently #4 in La Liga after 21 games, with 13 wins, five draws, and three losses. The team is currently on 44 points, 11 points shy of log leaders Girona (17 wins, four draws, one loss) on 55 points, 1 point ahead of Real Madrid.

It's an uphill battle this season across multiple competitions, and the pressure and poor performances weighed heavily on Xavi's decision to quit Barcelona's top job.

That there is currently a 10-point difference between Barcelona and arch-rivals Real Madrid does not sit well with supporters or Xavi.

Barcelona Manager Odds – Contenders:

Thiago Motta – Bologna

Barca is in a bit of a squeeze, given the market's anaemic variety of top-tier coaches. One option may be Thiago Motta.

With many years of experience with the team, this star footballer has also transformed Italian Serie-A team Bologna into a force multiplier on the pitch, finishing #9 – the highest rating in the league in 11 years.

Currently, they are a pair away from fourth place and performing well.

Jurgen Klopp – Liverpool

The King of Premier League football coaching, Jurgen Klopp, needs no introduction to the esteemed ranks of football royalty.

His departure from Liverpool opens the possibility of a Barcelona berth. With the Reds looking for a new coach, Klopp will likely get inundated with offers from the top clubs.

He is widely regarded among the finest football coaches, with a sterling record over the past 15 years. That he has secured victories with Dortmund and Liverpool over that time is commendable.

Unfortunately, the Barcelona manager odds on Klopp signing quickly dimmed given his reasons for quitting Liverpool – he didn't have the energy to continue.

Rafael Marquez – Barcelona B-Team 

Marquez is a bit of a dark horse in the race for Barcelona's top job. Yet, he remains a top contender on the bookies list, given a 44% win streak since his appointment in 2022.

It is well known that Barca appoints from within the ranks, particularly former players turned managers.

Barcelona manager odds point to this as a real possibility, given the club's history with guys like Cruyff, Xavi, Koeman, Enrique, and Guardiola all coming through the ranks.

Michel of Girona 

One sublime candidate for Barcelona manager is Michel (Miguel Ángel Sánchez Muñoz). He fully understands Catalan culture, and that's a plus point for the team.

He is revered in Girona, and he performed miracles for the team. Indeed, when players were drafted, Barca rejected Torre and Garcia – both of whom he shaped into Girona superstars.

Given his penchant for working with what he's got and making them better, it seems only fitting that pundits give this guy serious consideration with Barcelona manager odds.

Pep Guardiola – Manchester City

Despite having a long history with Barcelona, Manchester City legend Pep Guardiola is an outsider with longshot odds of becoming a Barcelona manager. Barca fans would undoubtedly love the stalwart to return, but that seems unlikely.

As coach (2008 – 2012), he pushed Barcelona to the top of the La Liga and European Championships. Recall that in January 2023, Guardiola was famously quoted – '…I would go if I'm coaching here or anywhere else…. and Barca call me. It's my club.'

Of course, it's still early days, but these are the types of candidates Barcelona management will be considering in the wake of Xavi's shock announcement to depart the legendary team.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*