Barcelona President Laporta Approaches Rijkaard And Van Basten To Replace Xavi
FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has reportedly approached the manager who made him a Champions League winner in 2006 to possibly replace outgoing head coach Xavi Hernandez, according to Radio MARCA.
AC Milan and Netherlands legend Frank Rijkaard manned the Camp Nou originally agreed to man the Camp Nou dugout in 2003.
After initial criticism and calls for his head amid poor form, the Dutchman led a Barca side containing Xavi, and spearheaded by the mercurial talents of Ronaldinho to its first piece of silverware since 1999 in his second full season in charge.
This was the 2004/2005 La Liga title, and the following season brought a maiden Champions League crown since 1992 in Paris against Arsenal and another Spanish championship in addition to a Super Cup.
Laporta eventually had to fire Rijkaard in 2008 after Barca went on another trophy drought, but the former midfielder should still be remebered as one of the club’s greatest coaches in the 21st century for returning them to winning ways, getting the best out of Ronaldinho, and giving a youngster by the name of Lionel Messi his debut then bringing him along.
In his second reign, Laporta finds Barca in a similar predicament to the moments in which he hired and fired Rijkaard.
Xavi announced that he will step down from his role on June 30, and a replacement isn’t currently lined up.
Possible reported candidates include Hansi Flick, Roberto De Zerbi and Thiago Motta.
But according to Radio MARCA, Laporta has approached Rijkaard about what would be a sensation return to Catalonia if it came to fruition.
Furthermore, it has also reportedly been proposed that Marco Van Basten would be his compatriot’s assistant.
As the outlet points out, though, convincing Rijkaard to return to football wouldn’t be straightforward.
The four-time continental champion as a player and tactician has no intention of returning to the sideline, where he hasn’t been seen since leading Saudi Arabia from 2011 to 2013.
Van Basten has been out of the game since 2016 as well, when he ceased to to be the Netherlands’ national team’s assistant under Danny Blind to take a FIFA technical director post.
David Sanchez, who reported on the development for Radio MARCA, explained that Rijkaard hasn’t closed the door to Laporta, who has not given up hope of seeing the coach that made him king of Europe for the first time ahead of the Pep Guardiola era.