It was the news that many saw as inevitable.
Ronald Koeman has been relieved of his duties as Barcelona manager, after just 14 months on the job.
Photo via AP
It followed Barca’s shock 1-0 La Liga defeat to Rayo Vallecano on Thursday, which left the Catalan side ninth in the league standings.
So far this season, Barca have picked up just 15 points from 10 league games. They’ve also already lost twice in the group stage of the Champions League.
Speaking after the defeat to Vallecano, Koeman admitted that all is not well at FC Barcelona.
"The team has lost balance in the squad, lost very effective players, which shows. In recent years other clubs have strengthened every season and we haven't, which also shows."
One might argue that Barca’s poor form this season is not entirely the manager’s fault.
The club’s poor financial management over the years had left them on the brink of bankruptcy, which resulted in the departure of star player Lionel Messi over the summer.
They were also unable to afford any significant new signings, with Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Luuk de Jong the only additions in the off-season.
With that, the hunt for a new Barcelona manager begins.
Photo via Reuters
Former midfielder Xavi is said to be the top-pick for the job. The eight-time La Liga winner knows the club inside out from his playing days…and remains a highly-respected figure at the Camp Nou.
There are already reports that Barca have started negotiations to secure his release from his current employers – Qatari side Al Sadd.
River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and ex-Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo are the other names being linked with the Catalan side.
However, as it stands, Xavi is the overwhelming favourite to return to his former side.
Regardless who gets the job, the chosen candidate will face a daunting task to bring the glory days back to Barcelona.
By: Nicholas Darren John