Xavi Arteta Klopp Barcelona 2023-24 GFXGetty

Barcelona's next boss: Mikel Arteta, Jurgen Klopp & the nine contenders to succeed Xavi this summer

"The feeling of being Barcelona coach is cruel, unpleasant, it feels like people lack respect for you a lot of the time," Xavi told reporters after seeing his team suffer a 5-3 defeat at home to Villarreal on Saturday. "It's terrible on a mental health level, your morale... to the point where you think there is no sense in continuing."

Nine months is a very short time in the football world. It feels like just yesterday that Xavi was parading the 2022-23 La Liga trophy at Camp Nou, with Barca finishing 10 points clear of Real Madrid to land their first title in four years, having also beaten their eternal rivals in the Spanish Super Cup final.

Xavi seemed to be building something amid the off-field financial woes that have long cast a shadow of uncertainty over the club, albeit while favouring a defensive approach a million miles away from the fluid, attack-minded one that saw him enjoy so much success as a player. But this season, Barca have gone back to leaking goals for fun, and their forward line is all over the place.

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Barca were 3-2 up after 71 minutes against Villarreal, but walked away empty handed after a shocking late capitulation. That result leaves Xavi's side 10 points behind Real and 11 adrift of surprise package Girona - who have played a game more.

Madrid also gained revenge over Barca in the Supercopa with a 4-1 masterclass in Saudi Arabia, and the Blaugrana were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Club at the quarter-final stage. Barca do still have the Champions League knockouts to look forward to, but they don't have the tools to win it, as Xavi himself seems to already realise.

"I have the feeling that I am doing the right thing, that I am acting with common sense," he added after revealing he will resign from his post this summer. "I think the club needs a change of dynamics, the dynamic is very negative."

The question is: who is the right man to change that dynamic? GOAL is here to run down the nine contenders for Xavi's job, starting with another former Barcelona midfielder...