I played under Celtic boss Brendan Rogers at Swansea and we both had Barcelona on the brain

Brendan Rodgers found success at Swansea City while taking inspiration from Barcelona aided by Andrea Orlandi.

The Northern Irishman was only on his third managerial role when he arrived at Swansea in 2010, having had mixed success with Watford and Reading previously. He had grand ideas nevertheless. Rodgers wanted to implement the style of play that Pep Guardiola had so excellently instilled at Barcelona, and it just so happened he had one of their former players in Orlandi in his ranks.

The Spaniard spent two seasons on loan with the Catalan giants, primarily playing for their B side but regularly training with their iconic first team. That was a repeated source of interest for Rodgers. "He loved Barcelona," Orlandi explained to Daily Star Sport. "When you ask me if my team-mates were asking me about Barcelona, Brendan was the one that, every couple of weeks he would come into his office and comment on the Barca game. It was because this is how he wanted to play and and the football he liked. So I thought that we had a similar brain in terms of what we think about football."

Rodgers enjoyed two highly productive seasons in Wales, earning promotion through the Championship play-offs before guiding his side to a mightily impressive 11th-placed finish in their first campaign in the Premier League. This fantastic track record has secured him coveted managerial roles previously at Liverpool in 2012, and then Celtic and Leicester, amassing a total of nine trophies to his name, which includes the FA Cup and two Scottish titles, with a third one potentially on the horizon.

Rodgers once professed his admiration for Barcelona during a conversation with The Coaches' Voice in 2019, stating: "I was a lover of the European game. I loved what Johan Cruyff brought Barcelona. I also admired Sevilla, and Valencia, who have an inherent belief in young players."

Dave Kitson, a former player under Rodgers at Reading, disclosed to The Athletic that "He never made any secret of the fact that he wanted to manage Barcelona. People may have scoffed at the time, but you can see he probably is a perfect manager for Barcelona."

Back in 2021, Rodgers was rumoured to be taking on the mammoth role at Barcelona as they were searching for Ronald Koeman's successor. However, they instead opted for club legend Xavi.

Synonymous with glowing praise, Orlandi remarked: "I have great memories with Brendan, and it's true that when we got promoted I barely played in the Premier League under him. If you ask a player that is not playing about the coach and he tells you good things about him, it means that he's a good coach. I used to wake up every morning looking forward to a training session because there was always something new. It was always ball related, it was intense, and I always got something out of it. His training sessions were were fantastic and as a coach, a very good coach."