In depth

Who wants to be a Barça coach?

Xavi explained his goal was to coach Barça. Which Blaugranas could aim for the same objective?

Who wants to be a Barça coach?
Who wants to be a Barça coach?

Xavi explained his goal was to coach Barça. Which Blaugranas could aim for the same objective?

Xavi entrevista

This month, the magazine Four Four Two published an interview of Xavi explaining his objectives for the near future. The former Blaugrana genius of the midfield announced his goal was to one day coach Barça. Very intelligent on the pitch, always calm and composed in interviews or in the moments of heat, Xavi appears as an ideal solution to take over the first team. He knows the club well, was formed in La Masia and learnt to play football the Barça way. Just like Guardiola before him, the holding midfielder could use his incredible experience to get another winning cycle going at Barcelona. Xavi is now playing in Qatar, but some other Blaugranas still in activity could get the idea of switching the shirt for the costume and dream of a glorious future as a Barça coach. Here is a selection of the most credible candidates and the influences they might use, from Barça but not exclusively.

Gerard Piqué - The coach 2.0

He might be one of the first to jump on an occasion to laugh at the eternal rival, or be a pioneer in terms of communication inside a football club (Periscope), he is more than anything else a very clever defender and an intelligent man. Gerard Piqué is 29 and yet his calmness and his experience make of him a very precious asset for FC Barcelona. Quick on the ball, and tough to beat for any attacker, the Barcelona-born player is also very aware tactically. A true support for his coach and a great influence in the dressing room. He could obviously use his charisma after his player career to pass on his knowledge to a younger generation of Blaugranas. We could imagine him easily in press conferences, where he's already proven to be efficient and entertaining. Also, he could take advantage of his large network of footballers and staff members to get the help he needs to get a coaching licence and some more tips on the game, from the other side of the bench.

Models to look up to:

Frank De Boer

Former Barça player
Quite successful at Ajax
Former defender turned coach

Mauricio Pochettino

Successful stay at Tottenham
Former International defender

Andres Iniesta - Keep calm

Some might regret his lack of enthusiasm, others never forget to praise his calmness, his intelligence and his necessity to Barça. Andres Iniesta is certainly not the flashiest player there is on a football pitch, but he's surely one of the most enjoyable to watch. His absence of hair make him easily identifiable on the grass, even though what he lost on his head he has gained inside. Very clever and now very experienced in the game, Iniesta could undoubtedly make the leap from great player to excellent coach. Like his teammates, he learned everything he know from Barça, and proved to be sort of a coach on the pitch, as he organises the game with his feet, and his mind. The question is: just like Zidane, quiet discreet with the media and silent on the pitch, can he be a great coach? We will probably never be able to answer the question precisely until he tries his luck. There is one sure thing: he has everything it takes.

Models to look up to:

Pep Guardiola

Incredible mentor
Similar haircut

Johan Cruyff

Another bright mind on and off the pitch
A very composed man just like Andres

Javier Mascherano - From 'Jefecito' to 'Boss'

If we were to give a perfect definition of 'adaptation', Mascherano would be among the first answers. Coming from South American football (Argentina, Brazil - River Plate, Corinthians), and having started his legend in England (Liverpool), 'El Jefecito' arrived quite late at Camp Nou (26 years old) and had to learn Barça's way on the pitch. The help of such amazing teammates like Messi, Xavi, Piqué, Puyol, Iniesta or Valdés made it easier for him. But it was also because of his defensive skills and his tactical awareness, two qualities that any coach on the planet wouldn't turn down. With his natural leadership, just like Piqué who is one of his best friends in the dressing room, Mascherano would make a great leader, aggressive in the press conferences as he is on the pitch and passionate when comes the time to motivate the squad. Definitely an option to consider for him.

Models to look up to:

Tata Martino

A predecessor as Argentinian coach in Barça

Frank Rijkaard

Other midfielder-defender turned coach and quite successfully

Sergio Busquets - Pure tactics

Pure product of La Masia, Sergio Busquets is a fine tactician, a great midfielder and a tremendous teammates. He understands like virtually nobody how a collective works and how important it is to get the pieces of the puzzle as close of each other as possible. He is still yound so he has a lot of time to get some more experience - he has already plenty - and to get many more cups and trophies. Like a true sponge, he gets a hold of football concepts and Barça's identity, to implement it in his footballer DNA. Certainly one of the favourites to make a coaching career when his time as a footballer is up.

Models to look up to:

Pep Guardiola

Holding midfielder just like him
Incredibly successful with the Blaugranas
Followed kind of the same trajectory

Bonus - Luis Suárez - Hugs and kisses

Surely not the most obvious candidate when it comes to thinking about a player as a future coach. There is no doubt Luis Suárez is among the best forwards of his time, and probably one of the best that have worn the Blaugrana shirt. But as many know, being a great player doesn't necessarily mean being a great coach. Given the Uruguayan's past and especially his bans for biting opponents (3 times in his career, at Ajax, Liverpool and with Uruguay), seeing him as a manager could be a bigger threat for both benches. Every coach in the world could testify; the tension you feel being on the pitch, you feel twice or three times as much with all the responsibilities a coach has. And it is unsure whether or not his 'hugs' would come in handy in moments of hit.

Model to look up to:

Diego Simeone

Hard on the man as a player, passionate as a coach
Calmed down and became one of Europe's top coaches