Barcelona reserve boss Rafa Marquez admits it would be hard to turn down the chance to succeed Xavi after the legendary midfielder announced his retirement at the end of the season.

Barcelona reserve boss Rafa Marquez admitted it would be difficult to turn down the opportunity to manage the first team after Xavi announced he would be leaving his role at the end of the season.

Xavi’s reign as Barcelona The coach quit in farcical circumstances on Saturday night when he announced his decision to quit at the end of the season after they lost 5-3 at home to Villarreal.

The 44-year-old, who admitted he will leave his post even if his side win the Champions League, revealed the news as his side fell 10 points behind rivals Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga.

Márquez was tipped by some as one of the favorites to land the job, and he pledged to «continue to prepare» for the role.

«It’s a shame that the first team suffered such a defeat. I think the management will have time to think about it until the end of the season, to choose the coach they decide for, it’s in their hands,» said the former defender.

Rafa Márquez has admitted it would be difficult to turn down the chance to manage Barcelona

Xavi’s reign as Barcelona coach ended in farcical circumstances on Saturday night

Barcelona suffered a 5-3 defeat at the hands of Villarreal and are 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid

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I will continue to prepare, of course, I am very happy with the work I am doing with the boys. It’s part of the process and it will come at the right time when it’s my turn.»

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Asked by reporters if he would be happy to accept the manager’s job, Márquez replied: «Who wouldn’t be, right?

«But the most important thing is to continue preparing because this is my second season as a coach here. To prepare myself in case that moment comes. You can’t say no to an opportunity like that. And if it comes, I’ll try to be available and try to do my best.»

Márquez guided Barcelona’s reserves to fourth place last season before losing to Real Madrid in the play-offs.

The home defeat by Villareal was just one of three devastating defeats in a month that the Catalans have forgotten.

Xavi’s side lost to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final before being kicked out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao earlier this week.

Barcelona are now 10 points behind Real and return to action against Osasuna on Tuesday night.

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