Ronald Koeman took charge as Barcelona manager at a time when the club was in turmoil. After a merciless thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich, Messi made public his desire to leave Barcelona in the summer of 2020. Koeman’s first season as Barcelona manager was mired by off-pitch controversies, and he did decently amidst a crisis. Now, after yet another soulless performance against Bayern Munich, questions are being raised on whether Koeman is the right man to lead Barcelona’s rebuild. Thus, in this article, we will look at five managers who can replace Ronald Koeman at Barcelona.
#5 Jordi Cruyff
Son of Johan Cruyff, Jordi is slowly starting to build a legacy of his own. Jordi took Maccabi Tel Aviv to the top of Israeli football while working as a sporting director. He is currently the sporting director of Barcelona and could well take over the managerial position despite little experience. If Jordi does replace Ronald Koeman, he could turn out to be a surprise package with his tactics.
#4 Antonio Conte
On paper, Conte should be the ideal man to replace Ronald Koeman due to his excellent track record. Juventus regained their status under Conte after eight seasons without a league title. Ironically, he also ended Juve’s foothold over Serie A in 2021. Conte also won the Premier League in his very first season in England.
Conte’s CV is the envy of a lot of managers, but any football fan will be able to understand why he will not fit in at Camp Nou. Conte’s football ideals are widely different from Barca’s DNA and hence the possibility of him taking over the reins from Koeman is unfathomable.
Who better to take Barcelona back to their glory days than the man who embodied the Barca brand of football throughout his career. Xavi has already been offered the Barcelona job once before, but he politely declined, citing his lack of managerial experience.
Now, after two seasons as the manager of Al-Sadd, he might well consider himself ready for the Barcelona job. But managing Qatar’s most dominant club and managing Barcelona, who are struggling financially, are two different things. Hence, Xavi might not fancy coming back to Barcelona in the immediate future.
#2 Roberto Martinez
Belgium has been ranked number one for a while now, and the man overseeing this dominance is Roberto Martinez. A self-proclaimed disciple of Cruyff, Martinez has implemented a possession-based approach throughout his managerial career. As the manager of Swansea City, he helped them re-climb the ladder back to the Premier League.
His most memorable achievement was winning the FA Cup with Wigan Athletic in 2013. Without any doubt, Martinez has the traits of a Barcelona manager. But it will be interesting to see whether he is ready to give up the Belgium job without winning a major trophy.
#1 Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag is the best possible candidate for the Barcelona job, primarily due to his incredible work at Ajax. When he became the manager of Ajax in December 2017, the club had not won a trophy in three years. In his first full season in charge, ten Hag won the domestic double. To the surprise of many, Ajax also reached the semi-finals of UCL where they lost in stoppage time against Spurs.
Erik ten Hag’s tactics are based on swift movement of the ball and having numbers in attack. He is exactly the type of manager that Barcelona fans are craving for, and hence appointing him is the best way to appease an angry fan base.