Keep Lionel Messi and rebuild squad – challenges ahead for new Barcelona boss

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Quique Setien has left his role as Barcelona first-team coach, with a replacement set to be confirmed in the coming days.

The 61-year-old, who only replaced Ernesto Valverde in January and signed a contract to take him through to the summer of 2022, has departed after Friday’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman, a former Barcelona player, is reportedly the favourite to take over at the Nou Camp but it seems whoever lands the role has a big job on their hands.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the key issues the new man will have to address.

Make sure Messi stays

Celtic v Barcelona – UEFA Champions League – Group C – Celtic Park
Could Lionel Messi really leave Barcelona? (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Refresh the team

Luis Suarez is one of a number of players approaching the end of their careers
Luis Suarez is one of a number of players approaching the end of their careers (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez/Pool)

Use La Masia gems

One such way the new boss could breathe new life to the team is by making more use of their famed academy. Neither Setien nor his predecessor Ernesto Valverde dared enough to give more minutes to the likes of Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig, with the 21-year-old midfielder not even making an appearance in the Champions League this season. Setien this month blocked the pair from playing for the B side so they could focus on the first team and the Champions League tie against Napoli. Barcelona B lost that game against Sabadell, costing them promotion to the Segunda Division. The new manager should make sure both starlets are well integrated into the Barcelona first team with other prospects such as Carles Alena, Francisco Trincao and Alex Collado possibly following suit.

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