The manager’s chair at Barcelona has suddenly become one of the hottest seats in football as the soccer giants that ruled the world are showing signs of age and wear-and-tear.
The club is reportedly seeking a new manager to replace embattled Luis Enrique. Filling his boots will take some doing.
Since his appointment in 2014, Barca have been two-time winners of La Liga, the Spanish Cup and lifted trophies for their triumphs in the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup.
Despite this phenomenal record, Barcelona is a team in trouble.
The stars are aging and spend almost as much time on the treatment table as the pitch. Allegations of corruption and tax evasion are being battled in the courts.
Easier to beat
The traditional Catalan strength of the side has gone – only one of the current crop of players comes from the side’s home region.
A noticeable change in play makes them easier to beat and their rival big teams are starting to regularly take the apart.
Instead of their famous tic-tac play in the midfield allowing them to hold the ball and control games, emphasis has moved to the superb front line of Messi, Suarez and Neymar to deliver the goals.
But transfer talks abound about Messi, 29, who has won everything in the game, with both the Manchester giants said to be readying £100 million bids for his services in the summer.
Barcelona is a project for a new manager to come in on the ground floor to start rebuilding.
Failing to fire on all cylinders
The team is still better than most, even though not all cylinders are firing. This season, they have already fielded 15 different combinations of midfield players.
A 4-0 Champions League defeat to Paris St Germain underlines the urgency of fixing Barca. Such a score line is practically unheard of in the recent glory years, but it shows how much form is dipping.
Despite Luis Enrique’s record, football is measured on what he does today, not in the past.
So who will replace him?
The pundits say Barca is drawing up a short list of contenders that is said to include Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Maurice Pochettino at Spurs and Ronald Koeman at Everton.
But no one has seen the list and who is most favoured by Barca is unknown.