Madrid: Celta Vigo coach Luis Enrique looks the clear favourite to replace Gerardo `Tata` Martino at FC Barcelona after holding talks with Barca`s Director of Football, Andoni Zubizarreta.
Both Luis Enrique and Zubizarreta were photographed Monday entering the current Celta coach`s house in the town of Gava, which is just south of Barcelona, reports Xinhua.
Two members of the Barcelona technical staff, Albert Valentin and Marcis Julia were also present at the meeting in which it is thought Enrique and Zubizarreta discussed the Barca job.
Luis Enrique, who spent eight years as a Barcelona player before coaching the club`s B-team for three seasons between 2008- 2011, has emerged as the front-runner for the manager position after Ernesto Valverde, who this season has taken Athletic Club Bilbao into the Champions League, ruled himself out.
Martino has another year on his contract with the club, but speaking to the press after his side`s 2-2 draw at home to lowly Getafe Saturday, he made a series of declarations which made it clear he does not expect to continue in his role for another season.
"I am the person most responsible for the bad season," said Martino, when asked if he felt he deserved a second chance at the club.
"Sometimes you feel you have not done enough (to get a second chance). I will look at my feelings before saying anything. It has not been a good season either on a personal level or for Barcelona. It has been difficult for football and non-football reasons."
"It is not a question of happiness, but I have not been able to impart my intentions on the team and we have never been able to offer the best level of Barcelona," said Martino.
Although Enrique would be a popular choice to return to Barcelona, the timing of his meeting with Zubizarreta and the fact it has become public is not perfect, given that Atletico Madrid`s defeat to Levante and Real Madrid`s home draw with Valencia Sunday, means Barca are back in the title race and one result they need to go their way is when Luis Enrique`s current club entertain Real Madrid Sunday evening.