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Barcelona want Luis Enrique back as head coach?

Barcelona want Luis Enrique back as head coach?
© Reuters
Barcelona reportedly consider re-hiring former head coach and current Paris Saint-Germain manager Luis Enrique as Xavi's successor this summer.

Barcelona are reportedly interested in bringing former head coach and current Paris Saint-Germain manager Luis Enrique back to Camp Nou.

The reigning Spanish champions will soon bid farewell to Xavi, who announced at the end of January that he would be handing the reins over to a successor when the season concludes.

Xavi dropped the bombshell news in a press conference after Barca suffered a 5-3 home defeat to Villarreal, since when La Blaugrana have gone unbeaten in their last seven games in all tournaments.

While the La Liga title may be out of reach as Barca sit eight points behind leaders Real Madrid in third place, Xavi's side could still win the Champions League and welcome Napoli to Catalonia for their last-16 second leg on March 12 following a 1-1 draw in Italy.

Due to Barcelona's resilient streak, president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco have both left the door open for Xavi to see out his Blaugrana contract, which expires at the end of next season.

Barcelona head coach Xavi on January 21, 2024© Reuters

However, the former Spain international remains adamant that he will be leaving this summer, and work has supposedly begun on finding the right candidate to replace him.

According to Spanish outlet Cadena SER, Enrique is Deco's first choice to succeed Xavi at Barcelona, whom the 53-year-old was previously in charge of for three years from 2014 to 2017.

A glittering spell in the Blaugrana hotseat saw Enrique lead Barcelona to nine trophies, including a Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey treble in the 2014-15 season, for which he was named the World's Best Club Coach.

Enrique won 138 of his 181 matches in charge of Barcelona before leaving at the end of the 2016-17 season, one year before he was appointed Spain head coach for the first time, although his first Roja reign ended prematurely in March 2019, five months before the tragic death of his daughter.

The Spaniard returned to his national team post in November of that year, helping La Roja reach the Euro 2020 semi-finals and 2020-21 Nations League final, but his country suffered a disappointing World Cup 2022 last-16 exit to Morocco.

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) manager Luis Enrique on December 13, 2023© Reuters

Enrique immediately left the national team setup and was hired as Christophe Galtier's PSG successor last summer, and Les Parisiens have taken 55 points from their first 24 games of the season to sit top of the table.

However, the report suggests that the 53-year-old - whose PSG deal runs out in 2025 - could depart due to recent controversy stemming from his early substitutions of Real Madrid-bound Kylian Mbappe.

The 25-year-old was taken off midway through the second half against Rennes on February 25 before only lasting until half time against Monaco on Friday, two games which PSG could only take a point from.

Enrique - who said on both occasions that his team must get used to playing without Mbappe - has allegedly now held clear-the-air talks with the attacker, who felt that his withdrawals were payback for his decision to leave the club.

Xabi Alonso, Thomas Tuchel and Hansi Flick - whom Barca have apparently opened talks with - are also on Deco's managerial shortlist, but the Blaugrana could struggle to hire Brighton & Hove Albion's Roberto De Zerbi due to his hefty buyout clause.

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Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi on February 18, 2024
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