Top 5 FC Barcelona manager contenders to replace Tito Vilanova


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Five candidates to replace Tito Vilanova as FC Barcelona manager after the 44 year-old suffered a relapse of his cancer.

FC Barcelona announced the resignation of Tito Vilanova as manager last night, with the 44 year-old having to undergo further treatment after suffering a relapse in his cancer.

With Barca president Sandro Rosell already revealing that a new coach will be confirmed in the next week, fanatix lined up the likely contenders for assessment.

Frank de Boer

Frank de Boer Ajax

Ajax manager Frank de Boer has ties to FC Barcelona as a former player, and has proven himself a hugely impressive candidate for the top job at Camp Nou in his short coaching career, winning the Eredivisie title in each of the last three seasons.

Indeed, prior to last night’s news, Dutch sources had already been linking De Boer with a return to Barca.

Netherlands broadcaster Sport1 claimed in April that de Boer was being lined up by Barcelona to take over from Vilanova next summer, but with the Spaniard departing sooner than expected, their hand may be forced.

De Boer went on record in 2011 as saying that he wanted to stay at Ajax for the next decade, and would even turn down Barcelona.

“Would I like to remain with Ajax for the next ten years? That would be great,” De Boer told Voetbal International, as translated by ESPN.

“Even if Barcelona were to approach me tomorrow, I would not go. I’m not finished here. I’m home and my family loves it in the Netherlands, they do not feel the need to move again.”

Of course, two years later De Boer could quite conceivably have changed his mind, but given that he signed a contract extension until 2017 in May, Barca may have a tough task convincing both Ajax and their manager to move.

Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique Celta Vigo

Barcelona like to promote from within, with Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova both being appointed to the role from coaching positions with the club’s B side.

Luis Enrique managed Barcelona B for three seasons between 2008-2011, having made 300 appearances for the club as a player, and would be a worthy candidate to take charge of the team.

As could be expected of someone associated with the club for so many years, Enrique is well versed with the club’s philosophies and playing style.

Despite a mixed spell at AS Roma in which he tried to introduce those same approaches, he is still highly thought of in Spain’s second city, and would likely be a popular choice with the fans.

He would have to be prised away from Celta Vigo, where he has just agreed to become manager.

Andre Villas-Boas

Andre Villas-Boas Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur coach Andre Villas-Boas has won back over the English press after an hugely impressive debut season at White Hart Lane.


The Portuguese boss was previously in charge at Chelsea, but failed to win over an ego-driven dressing room, and lost his job nine months after his appointment.

At Spurs though, he has shone, converting Gareth Bale from pacy left winger into a prolific floating attacking midfielder, and improving the side throughout with intelligent transfer business.

AVB’s playing style fits well with FC Barcelona, with the 35 year-old a great admirer of the approach at Camp Nou.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph in 2011, Villas-Boas extolled the virtues of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side.

“Barcelona play horizontally only after a vertical pass,” explained Villas-Boas.

“See how the centre backs go out with ball, how they construct the play. They open up (moving wider), so that the right or left-back can join the midfield line.

“Guardiola has talked about it: the centre backs provoke the opponent, invite them forward then, if the opponent applies quick pressure the ball goes to the other central defender, and this one makes a vertical pass.

“Not to the midfielders, who have their back turned to the ball, but to those moving between lines, Andres Iniesta or Lionel Messi, or even directly to the striker.

“Then they play the second ball with short lay-offs, either to the wingers who have cut inside or the midfielders, who now have the game in front of them.

“They have an enormous capacity not to lose the ball, to do things with an unbelievable precision.

“Another thing about Barcelona, there is always a full-back who arrives earlier in the attack, the other stays in position initially but then progressively joins the attack, as the ball circulates on the other side of the pitch, so he can be a surprise element. When you least expect he arrives. He chooses the perfect timing for the overlap.”

The opportunity to manage a side like FC Barcelona – and players of the quality of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Neymar and Lionel Messi – does not come around very often, and Villas-Boas would surely leap at the chance.

Read more at Fanatix

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