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Barcelona deny being in contact with Marcelo Gallardo - report

Rumors had said the River Plate coach was personally requested by Lionel Messi

Aldosivi v River Plate - Superliga 2019/20 Photo by Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images

FC Barcelona have not been in touch with Marcelo Gallardo in a plan to replace Ernesto Valverde as manager, contrary to some rumors. That’s according to Diario SPORT.

Gallardo is River Plate’s manager and has experienced extraordinary success as coach, winning Copa Libertadores twice and qualifying for the final of this year’s edition.

Valverde has been put under pressure due to a poor start to the season and due to a calamitous end to last season.

Rumors had also said that Lionel Messi, a fellow Argentine, had personally requested Gallardo, who is said to be the best manager in South America. SPORT says this rumor is also false, and that Messi has never requested a manager. Even in the case of Tata Martino, who successfully managed Messi’s hometown club, Newell’s Old Boys, before joining Barça - SPORT says Messi did not make a request. Rather, it was always the decision of the club president at the time, Sandro Rosell.

What can be said is that Barcelona’s poor showing in the last few matches have made the fans ask questions of Valverde and that Gallardo is one of the most respected coaches not currently coaching in a European league.

Rumors say that Gallardo is part of Barcelona’s shortlist to replace Valverde, along with Ronald Koeman of the Netherlands. However, in either case, it’s not likely that they would step in to replace him in the middle of the season. Gallardo will of course manage his upcoming Libertadores final and finish the season with River before he even thinks of leaving - and he may not want to leave right away, even after this season is over. Koeman has made it clear he wants to coach the Netherlands through the next Euros before making a jump to his dream club, which he publicly recognized as being Barcelona.

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