Liga - Who could get the Barcelona job?

We outline the main contenders to replace Tito Vilanova after the Barcelona manager was forced to quit for health reasons.

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Liga - Who could get the Barcelona job?
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Marcelo Bielsa (Reuters) and Andres Villas-Boas (PA Sport)

With the sudden departure of Vilanova as coach, president Sandro Rosell and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta will have to hurry to find a replacement, since there is only one month until Barcelona begin the defence of their Spanish title.

Here are the most likely men that Barcelona will target.

MARCELO BIELSA: The Argentine coach is currently without a club after two seasons at Athletic Bilbao. A few weeks ago, the Brazilian club Santos showed interest in signing him, but Bielsa was not satisfied by that project. Bielsa has a clear football philosophy that former boss Pep Guardiola took from when he took over as Barcelona manager.

JOAN FRANCESC FERRER 'RUBI': The 47-year-old almost produced a minor miracle last season when he led modest Catalan club Girona to the Segunda División play-offs where they fell just short of Liga promotion. This summer he joined the Barcelona coaching staff and was set to be Vilanova's assistant this season. It would not be a huge surprise if Rosell gave him the top job. His players consider him a scholar of football, especially as far as strategy is concerned.

LUIS ENRIQUE: A great ex-player with the club, Luis Enrique's three year spell as Barcelona B coach saw him earn a big move to Roma. However he left after just one disappointing season in Serie A and after a year out from the game accepted the Celta job this summer. Respected radio station RAC1 has mentioned him as a possible contender for Vilanova's job.

ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS: RAC1 have also thrown Andre Villas-Boas' name into the mix. The Tottenham manager would be the most complicated potential appointment as Spurs would look for a big compensation package for the young Portuguese boss. Barcelona usually look to avoid such difficulties but the fact that AVB's name has popped up suggests he has fans at the Camp Nou. The bookmakers also seem to like the link with some making AVB favourite for the job.

OSCAR GARCIA JUNYENT: Still only 40, Oscar trained as both a player and a coach at Barcelona. He made his mark as a manager last season in Israeli football, where he won the league title with Maccabi Tel-Aviv. This summer he replaced Gustavo Poyet as manager of Brighton but a call from Barcelona could see him leave the Championship club without having taking charge of a competitive game with the Seagulls.

MICHAEL LAUDRUP: The Swansea manager was a member of Johan Cruyff's dream team at Barcelona in the early 90s but his controversial transfer to Real Madrid in 1994 might still be remembered by some fans.

FRANK DE BOER: De Boer enjoyed a successful four year spell as a Barcelona player from 1999-2003. He has led Ajax to three successive Dutch league titles and is considered one of the brightest young managers in Europe.

EUSEBIO SACRISTÁN: Another ex-player at the Camp Nou, the current coach of the Barcelona B team is in his second spell coaching at Barcelona after having also managed Celta for a season. His playing style is different than what has been implemented in the Camp Nou under coach Pep Guardiola first and Tito Vilanova later, but continuity is an option within the hierarchy of coaches in La Masia.

SERGI BARJUÁN: A mainstay of the Barcelona team in the 90s, Barjuán was raised in La Masia. He worked as a youth coach at Barcelona between 2009 and 2011 and is currently the coach of Recreativo de Huelva in the Segunda División where he is highly rated by the club's directors and the fans of the Nuevo Colombino.

FRANK RIJKAARD: The Dutch coach had a successful spell at Barcelona between 2003-2008 when he coached players such as Xavi, Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes who remain in the current squad. Under his stewardship the club won the Champions League in 2006 and played delightful football led by Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o. He is currently without a club after he was sacked as coach of Saudi Arabia.

LLUÍS CARRERAS: Another product of Barcelona's youth system as a player although he struggled to become a first team regular at Camp Nou. Carreras started his coaching career with Alaves B before taking over Catalonia club Sabadell who he has guided into the Segunda Division. He decided not to renew his contract with them this summer so could be appointed easily.

JORDI ROURA: Roura stepped in for Vilanova when he was ill last year with mixed results. He possesses an excellent football mind but is perhaps more suited to working in the background.

ROBERTO MANCINI: The Italian is out of work after being sacked by Manchester City. He has won titles in Italy and England and could be appointed without the need for a messy compensation package.

LUIS ARAGONÉS: An unlikely option, since the 'Sage of Hortaleza' is now 74 and retired after he followed up Spain's European Championship success in 2008 with a brief spell at Turkish side Fenerbahçe. However, he is credited as the man who changed the mindset of Spanish football and turned them into world beaters. He would command instant respect in the dressing room.

JUPP HEYNCKES: There was some talk that the German could return for a second spell at Real Madrid this summer but he ended that rumour by saying he was taking a year out after guiding Bayern Munich to the treble. If any club could tempt him to change his mind though you suspect it might be Barcelona.

SIR ALEX FERGUSON: It seems ridiculous to suggest that the former Manchester United manager could end his retirement after just two months but it is worth noting quotes he made in 2010. "I would have loved to have gone to Barcelona at one time in my life. That would have been a dream." If Barca offered him a one-year deal could it tempt the ultra-competitive Scotsman?

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