Things happen fast at Barcelona. One minute, you are the hero of the club, leading them to the first trophy in four years and reinstilling the philosophy that was once lost by your predecessors.
The other, you are the villain who has overstayed your welcome, and you must resign as the club looks for your replacement before your corpse is even cold.
Ask Xavi, he knows.
The Spaniard announced his decision to leave the club after the 3-5 defeat against Villarreal, and then explained the same to the players in training today in what was reported as an emotional hour or so.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have already sprung into action into sorting out the replacement for the team, and have shortlisted quite a few candidates, the favourite of which has turned out to be former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick.
As per reports from Christian Falk, Flick is a ‘hot candidate’ to replace Xavi at Barcelona. President Joan Laporta is pushing for his services, hoping to complete negotiations with him before another team can spring into action.
The sextuple-winning manager is ready to take on another challenge after being dismissed as the German National Team manager, and is attracted to the idea of taking over a team in a foreign league.
Barcelona will have competition
While not reported, it is likely that Barcelona could face competition for his signature in the summer as quite a few clubs could be looking for a new manager at the time.
Liverpool are the obvious one, after Jurgen Klopp also announced his decision to leave the club in the summer.
Chelsea could also in pursuit of his services depending on what position Mauricio Pochettino guides the Blues to byt he end of the season.
Lucks could turn quickly on Luis Enrique, too, who is at PSG, where drama is never new. The same can be said about Manchester United where fans are routinely asking for Erik ten Hag’s head.
The other candidates
Flick is among a basket full of managers Joan Laporta and co. are currently looking at to replace Xavi at Barcelona.
Real Sociedad’s Imanol Alguacil has been listed as a candidate, and a key eye is also being kept on Thiago Motta, who is doing a rather impressive job at Bologna.
Thomas Tuchel also discreetly threw his hat into the ring today, saying that the idea of coaching abroad still intrigues him.
Previous reports have also namechecked Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp. It seems unlikely that the former will leave his Arsenal project just when they are about to scrape the ceiling of the team, while the latter has hinted at a sabbatical.
Xavi’s contract runs out on June 30, as he reminded the media in the press yesterday. The Barcelona board have six months of sorting through this shortlist to find the man who can finally get this crop of brilliant players close to their best.