Rafael Márquez, Barcelona
Rafael Márquez signed a contract extension in June of 2023 that would keep him on the job until at least June 30 of 2024 Via fcbarcelona.com

SEATTLE - A more than tough week has left more questions than answers for Barcelona. A midweek elimination in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain followed by an agonic defeat to historical rivals Real Madrid has left the entire 'Blaugrana' camp rethinking how to move forward as the season is all but over now.

A goal by Jude Bellingham in the 90+1' left Xavi Hernández' side 11 points away from the top of the table, its fourth LaLiga loss of the season only worsening the situation for club. Back in January, current manager Xavi announced that he would be stepping down from his role at the end of the season due to irregular results.

The comments made by the former Barcelona captain after a home defeat to Villarreal started the rumors of who his potential replacement could be. Out of the names mentioned by fans and media alike, it seems like Rafael Márquez could be earning some of the support needed to replace his former teammate as the new first-team head coach.

The 45-year-old has been the head coach of the reserves team, Barça Atlètic, since 2022 and has managed 73 games with the team, earning a record of 35-18-20 W-L-D in the process.

It wouldn't come as a surprise if Márquez indeed becomes one of the frontrunners, as two previous Barça B managers have also gotten an opportunity with the first team, with Pep Guardiola taking over in 2008 and Luis Enrique getting his chance in 2014.

After Barcelona's 3-2 defeat at El Clásico, rumors started to resurface online about the possible arrival of the Mexican coach. Márquez has a long story at the Spanish club, having arrived from AS Monaco in 2003-04 and becoming the first-ever Mexican to play for the team.

As a player, he won 12 trophies with the 'Culés' in seven seasons and played in over 200 matches, scoring 13 goals. Marquez also became the first Mexican to manage the reserves team in the history of the Catalan entity.

Rafael Márquez, Barcelona
Rafael Márquez won 12 titles as a plyer for Barcelona between 2003-10, including four LaLiga titles and two UEFA Champions Leagues Via fcbarcelona.com

One of the reasons why Márquez has become one of the most realistic options for the job is because of the solid campaign Barça Atlètic is having so far. Sitting in second place of Group 1 in the Primera Federación, Spain's third-tier division, Márquez was able to qualify the team to last year's promotion playoffs, falling to Real Madrid Castilla in the semifinals.

But at Barcelona, nothing has been certain for a long time, and Xavi's future continues to be up in the air.

According to reports from ESPN, the club plans to meet with Xavi and his representatives this week or next in hopes they can finally get a sense of his plans beyond this season. With the club currently facing one of its most delicate financial situations, Márquez would represent a low-cost hire for Barcelona.

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