Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman's future is back under threat after his team were trounced 3-0 by Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday. It was the Dutch manager's second straight loss in Europe's top tier club competition after they were beaten by Bayern Munich by the same scoreline on the first match day.

The game against Benfica was a must win for Koeman, whose team has had a mixed start to their La Liga campaign. Barcelona are five points behind leaders Real Madrid in sixth place, which has seen reports emerge about the Catalan club thinking about replacing the Dutchman.

Barcelona are looking at potential candidates to take over if Koeman gets the sack, and according to Catalunya Radio, former Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo is on the wanted list, which will come as a shock owing to his lack of top managerial experience.

The Italian was replaced by the Turin club after a poor debut campaign when Juventus struggled to finish in fourth place after having won the title for nine previous seasons. Despite Pirlo's poor record with Juventus, the Italian is said to have a number of admirers in Barcelona, especially in club president Joan Laporta. The Barcelona chief is said to be open to bringing Pirlo to the Camp Nou if Koeman fails to arrest their slide sooner rather than later.

The former Italy international is among two other candidates that have been on Barcelona's radar before Koeman arrived. The first is Belgium manager Roberto Martinez, and the second is Camp Nou legend Xavi Hernandez, who is the current manager of Qatar Stars League club Al Sadd.

Martinez and Hernandez are expected to be the first two choices if Barcelona part ways with Koeman in the coming months, but it will be tricky to get them out of their current contracts with Belgium and Al Sadd respectively. Pirlo, on the other hand, remains a free agent after parting ways with Juventus, but is also the least experienced of the three to be taking over a European giant currently in disarray.

Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman returns to the club he helped win the European Cup in 1992 Josep LAGO/AFP