Laporta Reaches Out to Former Barcelona Player and Manager to Replace Xavi

Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona v Villarreal - La Liga
Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona v Villarreal - La Liga / Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

After Xavi's announcement, FC Barcelona's focus now shifts from signing new players to a manager. January was brutal for the Catalan giants as they signed no new players and their manager, Xavi announced that he'll leave by the end of the season.

Many rumors have mushroomed after Xavi's announcement. But according to Marca, Laporta has already started his search for a new manager and he has contacted his priority candidate. Reports say that the Barcelona president has offered Frank Rijkaard the role of the Blaugranes manager.

Frank Rijkaard is a former player and manager of FC Barcelona who has had an immense success at the club. The Dutchman retired from his managerial career in 2014 and now works in the hospitality business, but the Amsterdam native hasn't rejected the offer yet. Additionally, Laporta has also asked Van Basten to be the assistant under Rijkaard.

Frank Rijkaard's previous Reign as Barça Manager

Frank Rijkaard was Barcelona's manager from 2003 to 2008. In the five years as the Catalan manager, he set out the foundation of a new era in FC Barcelona's history. He was the first manager that Laporta appointed during the Spaniard's first tenure as Barça president.

Rijkaard inherited a demoralized club who couldn't match their archrivals, Real Madrid's success in the early 2000s. This was evident following the shaky results in the first year of his tenure. But, things would change from 2004.

2004 marked the birth of a new FC Barcelona. With the arrival and promotion of new players like Ronaldinho, Deco, Samuel Eto'o, Rafael Márquez, Ludovic Giuly, Víctor Valdés, Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta, the club went on to win the 2004-05 and 2005-06 La Liga titles.

The Dutchman also helped the club win the 2005-06 Champions League and became the fifth player to win the UCL both as a player and manager. In May 2008, following a 4-1 defeat to rivals Real Madrid, Laporta announced that Rijkaard would depart by the end of 2007-08 season.