Zinedine Zidane, last year’s number one, is in at three despite not managing for half of last season.
Premier League managers Mauricio Pochettino, Unai Emery and Maurizio Sarri were fifth, eighth and 10th respectively.
The top 10 is completed by Massimiliano Allegri (4th), Diego Simeone (6th), Ernesto Valverde (7th) and Carlo Ancelotti (9th).
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Mario Gurrionero, who was involved in compiling statistics for the study, said: “Despite the disappointment of being knocked out of the Champions League and the increasing competitiveness in the English game, Guardiola has managed to hold onto his place in the top five.
“Manchester City’s consistency and his great influence in the world of football are two of the factors which have enabled him to end the season as the most highly reputed coach right now.”
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Broke the 40-goal mark for a 10th consecutive season
Messi scored his 39th and 40th goals of the season in a 2-0 win over Espanyol in March. He has always passed the 40-goal mark since netting 47 times in the 2008/09 campaign. He netted 51 goals in total, with 36 coming in LaLiga, 12 in the Champions League and three in the Copa del Rey.
Moved past Andres Iniesta for all-time Barcelona appearances
Messi‘s 675th game for Barcelona against Espanyol in March saw him leapfrog legendary midfielder Iniesta into second for all-time appearances for the club. Now, Messi is on 687 and is chasing down Xavi’s 767 record.
Messi scored his 50th penalty in Spain’s top-flight when he converted from the spot against Valencia in February. Only former Real Madrid stars Hugo Sanchez (56) and Cristiano Ronaldo (61) have scored more.
Fastest player in Europe to reach 20 league goals
Messi’s penalty against Valencia also saw him hit 20 league goals faster than any player in Europe’s top five divisions. It was the 11th season in a row where he’d scored 20 goals.
First player to score 400 LaLiga goals
Messi scored his 400th LaLiga goal in just 435 appearances during Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Eibar in January. Barca boss Ernesto Valverde heaped praise on his star man on yet another historic night.
He said: “But 400 is ridiculous. It’s easy to say it, but if you stack [the goals] one after the other. The numbers are stratospheric, incredible. Messi is an extraordinary player from another galaxy.”
Most LaLiga wins
Messi surpassed Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas’ 334 LaLiga wins after scoring in a 2-0 win against Atletico Madrid in April. The winger is on 339 victories and counting.
Inter Milan are believed to be showing an interest in the Croatia midfielder.
Keylor Navas (Real Madrid)
Navas played a crucial role in Real Madrid’s three successive Champions League triumphs from 2015 to 2018. However, the arrival of Thibaut Courtois restricted his playing time this season.
Spanish outlet AS report the club have told Courtois that he will be their No.1 goalkeeper next term, despite his underwhelming debut season in Madrid.
It could open the door for Navas to end his five-year spell with the club this summer.
There was excitement surrounding Malcom’s £36.5million arrival from Bordeaux last summer, but he has failed to live up to expectations.
The tricky winger has been continually linked with moves to Arsenal and Tottenham after falling behind Ousmane Dembele and Coutinho in the pecking order.
It has been claimed that Barcelona want to move Malcom on to help finance a move for Atletico Madrid’s wantaway forward Griezmann, who has a £100million release clause.
Isco (Real Madrid)
Isco lost his starting place after Santiago Solari replaced Julen Lopetegui in October – and his playing time did not improve much more following Zidane’s reappointment in March. With Mbappe, Hazard and Christian Eriksen on the club’s radar, the Spain midfielder could find it even harder to work his way back into favour.
Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona)
Umtiti’s 2018/19 season was plagued by a knee injury. During his time on the sidelines, Clement Lenglet stepped up to form a formidable defensive partnership with Gerard Pique.
Following his return to action in February, Umtiti was used sparingly by Nou Camp boss Esterno Valverde for the remainder of the season.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen could have a solid defensive partnership of De Ligt and Gerard Pique in front of him, with ever-present stars Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba operating as right and left full-backs, respectively.
With De Jong anchoring the midfield for the Netherlands, he could be positioned a little higher up the pitch with Sergio Busquets operating in his usual deep-lying role.
Ivan Rakitic, 31, is reportedly being targeted by Manchester United and Inter and his potential exit could open the door for Arthur Melo to claim a more regular starting place in midfield.
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Barcelona legend Lionel Messi, who has scored 48 goals so far this season, will be on the right wing and Ousmane Dembele could get a chance to shine if Coutinho’s likely departure happens.
It will leave Griezmann competing for a starting place with Luis Suarez, who had a disappointing Champions League campaign, scoring just once in ten games.
However, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has often deployed a 4-4-2 formation, which has worked well in LaLiga.
De Jong and Busquets would be the two central midfielders with Dembele on the left and Messi on the right.
It could see Griezmann partner Suarez up front.
And if Valverde wants more pace from his full-backs, then Nelson Semedo could come in for Roberto.
“We are human beings, we feel the pain, the frustration. We have to do self-criticism, put our chest out for the bullets of what is coming now.
“It’s the second time the same [thing] happens to us. We cannot make these mistakes two years in a row, we have to reproach ourselves for what we are doing wrong, thinking that everything was finalised.
“We are the ones who play. The coach made the tactics that he made in the first leg. We, the players, have to be self-aware, we are the ones who play.
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“We have to apologise for the attitude, we were not a team. To our families, our children, our fans, we have to ask for their forgiveness.
“It cannot be that in a minute we concede two goals. The fourth goal we looked like youngsters. We have to understand all the criticisms that are going to rain on us.”
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Despite Valverde guiding Barcelona to back-to-back LaLiga triumphs, the manner of their semi-final second leg defeat will put pressure on his job.
He said: ”The scoreline was 4-0 and when that’s the case there are no excuses.
“Their second goal hurt us massively and the third one came in straight after that.
“They played well, and we have to congratulate them for reaching the final.”
Ahead of the El Clasico clash at the Bernabeu on Saturday evening, coach Valverde has revealed the Argentina international completely ignores the ball at the start of the game and instead targets the opposition.
“Messi reserves the first minutes of each match for interpretation,” Valverde told the Financial Times.
“During that time, he ignores the ball and takes a walk around the opposition defence, fixing each man’s position in his head.”
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“Then, as the game advances, he gets in little by little. But by now he knows perfectly where the rivals’ weaknesses are.”
In the same fixture last season, walked for 83% of the Clasico and ran only 4.95%.
However, he managed to create nine chances, score a goal and provide an assist.
There are many legitimate criticisms to be made over how relevant Barcelona’s ‘more than a club’ motto is these days, but what undoubtedly remains true is that the question of style – of how Barça should go about winning – is still more important than for any other team.
By renewing Ernesto Valverde’s contract we are guaranteeing the continuation of a coach and person who so excellently represents the FC Barcelona values and our way of understanding football. We’re sharing a winning project for Barça pic.twitter.com/wAaGeorjW5
Virtually anywhere else, the decision to continue working with a coach who won a league and cup double in his first season, and is still on course for a treble in his second, would be seen as a no-brainer.
But not at Camp Nou; or at least, not for a vocal section of the Barcelona support.
The Blaugrana’s 1-0 win over Valladolid on Saturday will have done little to change the minds of Valverde’s critics.
Barça got the job done, taking a victory that ensured their lead at the top of La Liga remains comfortable, but it wasn’t exactly a performance to tell the grandkids about in years to come. Peppered with moments of quality but at other times disjointed and lacking the zip on the ball Barça are known for at their best, the win was, in part, built upon individual excellence from key players like Gerard Pique, and also upon Valladolid’s chronic lack of quality up front; their ability to squander excellent counter-attack situations was often perplexing.
For much of the match Barcelona played with a number of second-string players, and it is hardly a revelation that Kevin-Prince Boateng does not deliver the same qualities as Luis Suarez, nor Arturo Vidal the same as Arthur.
But the fans who long for the Barça football of old would argue that these days even a full strength XI is still too far away from the club’s positional-football identity.
One extreme take on Saturday was that the reigning LaLiga champions are now ‘tactically lost’.
En lo táctico, está caído el Barcelona como equipo. La pérdida de los impulsos individuales de Arthur ha terminado por confirmarlo.
With Valverde’s record in his 97 official games now extending to 66 wins, 22 draws and only nine defeats, that seems harsh to say the least. A near 70 percent win percentage is not achieved without a thorough grasp of tactics and a clear plan, even if they aren’t the tactics some would prefer.
And, crucially, the players are happy enough with the approach of their current boss for dressing room heavyweights to back the club’s decision to extend Valverde’s contract.
The same squad veterans who have the benefit of first-hand experience of what it was like to play for the best Barcelona sides are perhaps more realistic about how difficult it is to repeat the levels of performance from those days than some fans are.
Even if disgruntled observers complain that Valverde’s team isn’t excelling enough, straw polls suggest his detractors are far less certain, however, about who could do any better.
Question for Barça fans not happy with Valverde: who would you rather have and why?
Of the few names that tend to be put forward, there is always at least one significant caveat to be added.
Real Betis boss Quique Setién, for example, favours an exciting style of football but has struggled to produce consistent results from his top flight teams; Betis have not won back-to-back games in LaLiga since December.
Home-grown options such as former Barça Juvenil A coach Óscar García or current B team boss García Pimienta tend to be founded in a romantic view that they can repeat the exceptional step up made by Pep Guardiola, but that likely wouldn’t stop the knives from coming out should results not quickly be delivered to match the more palatable brand of football.
Results are what Valverde produces better than most, and even if the displays may not be as consistently dazzling as Guardiola’s team, or as electric as the best of Luis Enrique’s, the ridiculously high standards in the Catalan capital make the current side out to be far more simplistic than it truly is.
It is tempting to think that many of the purists are in reality simply swayed by one solitary result in particular – Barcelona’s dramatic collapse to Roma in last season’s Champions League quarter-final.
If Valverde can right that wrong and bring home the club’s fifth European Cup later this year, will the same critics of his Barcelona’s style still be as vocal?
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