In 1992, Ronald Koeman scored Barcelona's winning goal in the European Cup final. Ever since, warm memories of the flame-haired sweeper have been intertwined in the history of the Catalan club.
But patience is running low for a man who has perhaps outstayed his welcome this time around. Overseeing a huge transition at the Camp Nou was always going to be a tough ask - and Koeman never truly felt like the longterm answer - but one too many defeats could spell the end of a beautiful romance between Barca and their manager.
We may not get to see the first-ever El Clasico between two former Everton managers, after all. Here are the runners and riders for the Barca job, with odds from Betfair...
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Similarly to Koeman himself, the favourite for the Barcelona job is a legend who has brought European silverware to the club.
Xavi was schooled at the club's famed La Masia academy and graduated to become one of the most decorated Spanish footballers of all time. On the field, he was highly intelligent, understanding Pep Guardiola's positional play intrinsically: off it, he's been honing his coaching skills in Qatar, managing Al Sadd over the past couple of years.
There's no doubting that Xavi is one of the most popular figures ever in Barcelona's long and glittering history - but whether or not he feels like the time is right to return to Catalonia is another thing. The club is in a dire financial state and they lack players with perhaps the technical quality that Xavi would like. It would be a baptism of fire.
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Roberto Martinez: 6/1
Koeman replaced Roberto Martinez at Everton - and Martinez could replace Koeman at Barca. The Spaniard has no prior connection to the club, which could well be a good thing, too.
Martinez has been praised for his work at international level, despite not winning anything with Belgium's golden generation and his work at Goodison Park is now viewed with a different lens, given the struggles that Toffees bosses since have had.
But Barcelona? Really? If Koeman felt underqualified for the role then Martinez most definitely does. He was outschooled at Euro 2020 fairly easily by Italy's Roberto Mancini and an FA Cup aside, he hasn't actually won anything in management: even that trophy came during a season of relegation.
Antonio Conte: 10/1
With many Cules criticising Koeman for his 3-5-2 against Bayern Munich a few weeks ago, suggesting that the Dutchman had forgotten the club's identity in a blind panic, hiring Antonio Conte might feel like stroking a dog in the wrong direction.
Barcelona value their academy, their brand of football and right now, financial shrewdness: Conte favours experience, pragmatism and a big budget. The two could hardly be more opposed to one another: and his meagre record in Europe isn't likely to convince Joan Laporte otherwise.
And yet, sometimes the oddest couples make for the best relationships. Barcelona arguably need a change of direction - and Conte is a born winner who has transformed tired sides into champions. Stranger things have happened...
Erik Ten Hag: 14/1
Right now, if you've worked with Ajax, with Pep Guardiola or you're simply Dutch, you're on the list.
But Erik Ten Hag is more than just a token pick. His work with Ajax over the last few years has been stellar, taking them to within a whisker of the Champions League final in 2019 and his positional play is tailor-made for Barca. He's proven himself a steady pair of hands and having worked with the likes of Frenkie De Jong, he'd surely help to implement a style of play that gets more out of the sum of the parts.
He's not particularly proven outside of the Eredivisie, though. And what's stopped ambitious sides like Arsenal, Tottenham, Dortmund or Juventus hiring him in the last couple of years, exactly? Maybe he doesn't want to leave the Netherlands.
Mikel Arteta: 14/1
Twelve months ago, perhaps Mikel Arteta would have been a popular choice in Barcelona, where he spent three years playing for the club's B team.
The Basque manager has a possession-first philosophy, learned his trade in Pep Guardiola's coaching staff and won an FA Cup with a bog-standard Arsenal side - but ever since, he's divided opinion at the Emirates with successive eighth-place finishes. Barcelona need stabilising and Arteta hasn't unanimously proved that he can progress a European giant yet, even taking Arsenal backwards, according to some fans.
Arteta seems like a deeply underwhelming appointment for Barcelona and one that may not be worth it, considering it would cost a fair whack to buy him out of his Arsenal contract. Perhaps one to consider in a few years time, though.
Andrea Pirlo: 13/2
Andrea Pirlo explicitly stated in his autobiography that he had no interest in becoming a manager. Yet after a year in charge of Juventus, he's now one of the favourites to coach another European giant.
It's safe to say Pirlo didn't exactly succeed with flying colours, either. After nine years of straight Scudettos, the Old Lady surrendered their crown to Antonio Conte's Inter Milan, while a weak Porto side knocked Juve out of Europe. Qualifications for the Barca job seem tenuous to say the least.
Still, maybe he was the right man in the wrong environment at Juventus. He certainly simplified a lot of Juve's play and given that he's cheap, has a year's experience under his belt and understands the remit of good football, he might be worth a punt.
Marcelo Bielsa: 16/1
Barca were always just a little too good for El Loco to really consider joining. That's not really a problem, now.
Marcelo Bielsa doesn't need world-class superstars to succeed. He plays brilliant football in a 4-3-3 (of sorts) and to many watching Leeds this season, it feels as if he's approaching the end of the road in what he can do with that group of players. This could well be the perfect opportunity for him to take over a giant of world football and restore them to former glories.
While many of us would love to see Bielsa crouching on the Camp Nou touchline though, it feels a little fantastical. He's not one for breaking loyalty and would he even get on with Joan Laporta? Still, we can dream of Patrick Bamford in a Blaugrana shirt...
Thierry Henry: 16/1
Another man linked with the role seemingly due to his Barcelona connections rather than his managerial acumen, former Guardiola player Thierry Henry is jobless and seeking a new challenge.
Henry talked up the influence of Pep when he was appointed at Monaco and has been lauded for his work with Belgium's set-up at international tournaments - but beyond that, there isn't much else to get excited by. The French legend flopped spectacularly in Ligue 1 before an unnoteworthy year-long spell at CF Montreal. Does he know what kind of manager he is - let alone Barca?
Hiring Henry would represent a huge gamble for the club. He might be ready for another management role - but this one feels a little too big, even for a figure of his stature.
Jose Mourinho: 100/1
Well, it's worth a punt.
The new Roma manager worked at Barcelona first as Bobby Robson's translator and then as a coach under Louis van Gaal. He always wanted to manage Barcelona and the rumours were that when Guardiola was hired in 2009, Mourinho was furious at being turned down. It became a huge bone of contention in his rivalry with Pep.
The Special One is settled in Serie A these days and would likely require a huge pay-off to tempt him back to his old stomping ground. There's no guarantee that either party would even be interested, either: Jose was spurned Laporta the first time around due to his defensive football - which hasn't become any more exciting in the time since - with Mourinho moving onto Real Madrid himself.
But wouldn't it be amazing to see?
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