How the Barcelona legacy is still setting the standard in the Champions League

The draw for the 2023/24 Champions League has been made. And despite only two Spanish clubs remaining in the competition, there are four managers from Spain still in the running to lift this season’s top prize on the continent.

Of all four of those Spaniards, they all have a connection to one team, Barcelona. Here, we look at them in more detail.

Pep Guardiola

Probably the most well-known manager in the world in 2024 is Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola. The former Barcelona boss led Manchester City to the Champions League in 2023. His City team is 7/4 to win it again in 2024. In the Premier League, his City team is 11/10 in the latest Premier League betting odds to win the title again. Such is City’s dominance, they are 15/2 to complete the treble of Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup.

Guardiola is widely regarded as having revolutionised the way the game is played. Despite being 1/9 in the latest English Premier League relegation odds, Burnley – who are managed by former City player Vincent Kompany – still try to play football in the way Kompany was taught by Pep when he was captain at the Etihad.

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Mikel Arteta

Arteta is the heir apparent to Guardiola. The former Everton and Arsenal midfielder learned his trade under Pep as his assistant at the Etihad Stadium from 2016 until he left to take the Arsenal job in December 2019.

To date, Arteta has only won the FA Cup as manager of Arsenal. His Arsenal team were also accused of capitulating in the Premier League title race last season. Despite this, he is highly regarded within the football world and has been linked with the Barcelona manager’s job which is to become available this summer when Nou Camp legend Xavi steps down.

Xavi Hernández

Yet another disciple of the Pep Guardiola school of footballing philosophy, Xavi Hernández is the current head coach of Barcelona.

Although Xavi hasn’t coached alongside the Manchester City boss, he was an instrumental part of the Barcelona midfield that dominated European football in the late 2000s and early 2010s under the leadership of Guardiola.

Sadly for Xavi, things have gone wrong in Catalonia in the 2023/24 season, and it was recently announced that the 2010 World Cup winner would be stepping down at the end of the current season.

Xavi still has the opportunity to go out on a high. His Barcelona side will take on PSG in the last eight of the Champions League. And they are also on the opposite side of the draw to Manchester City, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

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Luis Enrique

The former Barcelona and Spain manager is currently the head coach of PSG, where he has guided them to the quarter-final of the Champions League.

Winning the Ligue 1 title in France with PSG is expected. It’s not up for debate. The reason managers regularly get the boot from the top job in France is for failing to win the UEFA Champions League. Luis Enrique has all the credentials. He did the treble of the Champions League, La Liga, and Copa Del Rey with Barcelona in 2015.

Football the Barcelona way

The one thing these four head coaches all have in common is FC Barcelona. The club has hit a rocky patch in recent years, mainly due to financial failings off the pitch. The Catalan giants will no doubt be back at the summit of European football soon enough.

But for now, they may have to be content with seeing former players winning trophies for other clubs while they rebuild their dynasty again.

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