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Barcelona want Roberto Martinez as Ronald Koeman replacement but face Belgium challenge


The former Swansea, Wigan and Everton coach has kept Belgium at the top of FIFA’s World Rankings for three years and has his eyes set on next year’s World Cup in Qatar

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Barcelona are actively working on identifying a replacement for under-fire boss Ronald Koeman with Roberto Martinez their preferred candidate for the post.

The former Swansea, Wigan and Everton boss tops the Catalan club’s shortlist for replacing the Dutchman, whose side stumbled to an underwhelming draw at home to Granada on Monday.

It is thought that Koeman will remain in his post until next month’s international break at least, although the club have already made the decision that he should be replaced.

The former central defender was a legend at Barca during his playing career and hit the winning goal that secured the goal’s first ever European Cup – against Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992.

Koeman has failed to replicate that success in the dugout after being appointed in the summer of 2020 by then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.







Ronald Koeman is reportedly on the brink of losing his job at Barcelona



The election of new club president Joan Laporta in March was always likely to prompt a change of direction and the club supremo openly admitted at the end of last season that Koeman was staying because the Blagurana could not identify a suitable replacement.

Barca’s well documented and ongoing financial problems also played a major role in Koeman remaining in his post this season – it is estimated that his sacking would cost the club an extra £10million.

The Dutchman’s current contract at the Camp Nou expires at the end of the campaign but Barca are now minded to make a coaching change before then.

As advanced by Goal.com, Belgium boss Martinez tops the club’s shortlist of replacements for Koeman – although that move may be complicated.

Martinez guided Belgium to a third-place finish in the 2018 World Cup – the nation’s best-ever position in the competition – while keeping the nation on top of FIFA’s World Rankings system since 2018.








Roberto Martinez has been Belgium boss since 2016
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Image:

Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)



The Spaniard has previously indicated that his coaching style was influenced by Johan Cruyff; the former Barca player and manager who is credited with the club’s style of play over recent decades.

Indeed, Cruyff’s son Jordi – who was appointed as a sporting advisor on Barca’s board this summer – was the best man at Martinez’s wedding.

Martinez remains at the helm of Belgium for their World Cup qualification campaign as he aims to lead the nation’s ‘Golden Generation’ to their first ever major title.

He was retained for the current qualification campaign despite an underwhelming quarter-final exit against Italy in Euro 2020.

Should Roberto Martinez leave Belgium for Barcelona? Let us know what you think in the comments section below





Peter Bossaert, chief executive officer of the Belgian Football Association, said this summer that he expects Martinez to still be at the helm by the timeof next year’s World Cup.

He said: “I don’t have the feeling he will step down.

“There is no problem with him at the moment. There will be no real evaluation because, as with any successful business, we have a culture of permanent evaluation.”

That presents an added stumbling block for Barca, who must be wary that they would have to buy out the remainder of Martinez’s contract with the Belgian FA to secure his appointment – on top of the cost of sacking Koeman.

That may mean that the former midfielder is out of reach for the Blaugrana this campaign, but Martinez may not see moving to the Camp Nou at this juncture as a positive step.




He has secure employment for at least the next 18 months and holds great influence with the Belgium FA, who have been key to guarantee his long-term loyalty.

Martinez would be walking away from that position of strength and relative minimal risk to a post with high expectations and with no guarantee of success.

Not only would Barca need to commit to an unwelcome financial outlay to appoint Martinez, but the coach would have plenty to ponder before making any decision.


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