Pirlo and Xavi set to battle it out for Barcelona hot-seat as front runners rule themselves out

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Things are begging to hot up at Barcelona, with the fixture against Atletico Madrid on Saturday night expected to be Ronald Koeman’s last in charge of the blaugranes.

Whatever the result of that match, there follows a two-week international break, and it gives president, Joan Laporta, the perfect opportunity to find a replacement and have them in situ before La Liga action returns.

It had been thought that Roberto Martinez was a front runner, but according to Sport, the Belgian national team manager, allow with River Plate’s Marcelo Gallardo, has ruled himself out.

That’s left the door open for two other potential candidates.

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Xavi Hernandez is a Barcelona club legend, and will surely be welcomed back with open arms by the Camp Nou faithful.

Andrea Pirlo and Xavi are now the two front runners for the Barcelona manager’s job

Andrea Pirlo is a big name too, and last played against Xavi in the latter’s final game for Barca, the 2015 Champions League final against Juventus.

His time as manager of Juve was an unmitigated disaster, however.

Another name that Sport suggest as a temporary measure is Joachim Low, but given the choice, the supporters are bound to be behind their former captain.

More Stories joachim low Joan Laporta MArcelo Gallardo Roberto Martinez Ronald Koeman Xavi xavi hernandez