Barcelona have a particular habit of appointing former players as managers, possibly due to their search for some of the same style that has brought them so much success. That is definitely the case with Xavi Hernandez, who was able to return to the club despite only having one previous job with the club.
Former midfield partner Andres Iniesta has now opened the door to a similar path. The Spanish World Cup winner is now 38 but is still playing for Vissel Kobe in Japan, who he joined after leaving Barcelona in 2018.
Speaking to La Gazzetta in a recent interview, as reported by Diario AS, Iniesta admitted that he would love to return to Camp Nou at some point.
“I will continue for another year here (in Japan) and then we will see. I would love to return to Barca, it is my home, but I still don’t know in what capacity: manager, sporting director or something like that. In any case, the first thing I have to do is train and, at the moment, I still see myself as a player.”
He did say that he would be taking steps to prepare himself for whatever role he pursues though.
“It’s nice to think that someone who has been and given so much to a club can continue doing so, even if they stop playing, but the the appropriate conditions must be in place for it. You can’t say ‘I’m not going to do anything, but let me come back’.”
While it immediately becomes more likely given the increased percentage of former players that are given the Barcelona job, it is also true that their best spells of success have come under Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola, both of whom donned the Blaugrana themselves. Iniesta was probably not high on many people’s list in terms of natural candidates for management. Few have enjoyed as much of Barcelona’s modern era success as he has though.