XAVI is tipped to beat Mauricio Pochettino to the Barcelona job after Bayern Munich’s 8-2 romp doomed Quique Setien’s eighth-month reign.
Having seen Real Madrid overhaul them post-lockdown to regain the LaLiga crown, Barca were crushed in the Champions League quarter-finals, conceding more than five goals in the competition for the first time ever.
Setien’s face near the end seemed more resigned to his fate than his team had been to theirs on the pitch as they surrendered pitifully.
And the 13/8 bookies’ favourite to replace him is Nou Camp tiki-taka legend Xavi, now boss of Qatari club Al Sadd SC, after winning 133 Spain caps as a masterful midfielder.
Former Tottenham manager Pochettino is 10/3, with ex-PSG chief Laurent Blanc 9/2 and Barca academy director Patrick Kluivert fourth favourite on 5-1.
Further down the list come Leeds’ Championship winning boss Marcelo Bielsa at 14/1 and 33/1 shot Pep Guardiola.
Former Barca and Bayern chief Guardiola has been most strongly linked with Juventus.
But he is expected to stay in charge of Manchester City, especially after they won their appeal against a Euro ban.
A Paddy Power spokesman said: “Supporters will be ‘Bayern’ for blood after the dismal showing by Setien’s team in the Champions League – and the failure to land the La Liga title will hardly help.
“Xavi has long been linked with the role, and is our favourite to take it, but they don’t mind a left-field appointment in Barcelona.”
ODDS FOR NEXT BARCELONA MANAGER: 13/8 Xavi Hernandez, 10/3 Mauricio Pochettino, 9/2 Laurent Blanc, 5/1 Patrick Kluivert, 11/2 Javier Garcia Pimienta, 13/2Ronald Koeman, 15/2 Maurizio Sarri, 8/1 Marcelo Galladro, 14/1 Marcelo Bielsa, 16/1 Jordi Cruyff.