Barcelona Sack Ronald Koeman As Coach

Barcelona’s Dutch coach Ronald Koeman reacts during the Spanish League football match against Rayo Vallecano de Madrid at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid on October 27, 2021. OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP

 

Ronald Koeman has been sacked as coach of Barcelona, the club announced on Wednesday, after defeat by Rayo Vallecano left the club ninth in La Liga.

Barca have won only two of their last seven league games under Koeman, a run that included losing to Real Madrid in Sunday’s Clasico at Camp Nou.

A poor start to the season has raised the possibility of the team failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League, which would have enormous consequences for the club’s already-dire financial situation.

Barcelona’s former midfielder Xavi Hernandez, who is currently in charge of Qatari club Al Sadd, and River Plate coach Marcel Gallardo are reportedly among those under consideration to take over.

A club statement released after midnight in Spain on Wednesday read: “FC Barcelona has dismissed Ronald Koeman as coach of the first team tonight.

“The president of the club, Joan Laporta, has informed him after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano. Ronald Koeman will say goodbye to the squad this Thursday at the Ciudad Deportiva.

“The FC Barcelona wants to thank him for his services and wishes him good luck in his career.”

Koeman To Continue As Barcelona Coach – Laporta

In this file photo taken on October 13, 2019 Netherlands' coach Ronald Koeman looks on prior to the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Belarus and the Netherlands in Minsk. Sergei GAPON / AFP
File photo of Ronald Koeman. Sergei GAPON / AFP

 

Ronald Koeman has escaped the Barcelona axe with club president Joan Laporta announcing on Thursday the Dutchman is to continue as coach next season.

“We’ve decided to give continuity to a contract already in place,” Laporta confirmed after a meeting of the club’s directors.

Koeman’s confirmation comes after the Catalan press had hinted that winning round Lionel Messi as well as lifting the Copa del Rey and overseeing a year of transition may not have been enough for him to keep his job.

Laporta explained: “We think it’s the best for Barca and we are very happy to be able to announce today that Ronald Koeman is staying.”

He said “very frank and straight” conversations had taken place before committing to Koeman until the summer of 2022.

“This time for reflection was necessary… to see together what didn’t work at the end of last season”.

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Koeman remains in the Camp Nou dugout after a “unanimous” vote despite Barca’s last 16 Champions League exit to Paris Saint-Germain and a disappointing end to the Liga title race.

Laporta praised Koeman’s “impeccable behaviour”.

“He showed what we already knew, that he is a true professional.

“I’m sure we are going to have a great season.”

AFP

Messi Rested For Barcelona’s Trip To Hungary

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi smiles during a friendly football match between FC Barcelona and Nastic at the Johan Cruyff stadium in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona, on September 12, 2020. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

 

Lionel Messi will be given a timely rest by coach Ronald Koeman as Barcelona travel to Hungary for a Champions League match at Ferencvaros on Wednesday with their tickets already booked for the next round.

Barcelona top Group G on 12 points from four games, but are wallowing in seventh in the Spanish Liga a daunting 10 points behind leaders Real Sociedad.

Barcelona’s struggling coach Ronald Koeman said the match in Hungary was an excellent opportunity to rest stars and give a run out to lesser lights.

“We wouldn’t normally do this, but with the calendar being what it is this year there are only a few opportunities to rest people and tomorrow is one of them,” said the Dutchman.

Goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Brazilian midfielder Coutinho will also sit out the match to be fresh for domestic duties.

“Saturday’s match (against Cadiz) is an important one for our progress in the league, and after tomorrow, there will be few opportunities to rest for anyone,” Koeman said.

Messi “is key for our attack, if the ball reaches him, there is movement, there is a lot of quality in his passes,” Koeman said.

“At the beginning of the season, he struggled a bit more and this might not be a 30 goal season.

“But he is working well, he is still a very important and decisive player in our attack. Leo is a player who always wants to play.”

Barcelona’s backup forward Martin Braithwaite could start on Wednesday after scoring three times in his last two matches.

-AFP

Koeman Uncertain About Messi’s Future At Barcelona

 

Photo Credit: Planet Futbol

 

Ronald Koeman has admitted he has no idea if Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona next summer and said it is not his job to persuade the Argentinian to stay. 

Messi made an attempt to leave Barcelona this summer before backing down. He can talk to other clubs in January and leave for free when his contract expires in June, with Manchester City expected to make a renewed attempt to lure the 33-year-old away from Camp Nou.

“Messi still has a contract and in my opinion he has to stay here,” said Koeman in a press conference on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s crunch La Liga game away at Atletico Madrid.

“But I am not the person that has to try to make him stay here. We will see about his future, still he is a Barcelona player. Nobody knows what will happen with the future of Messi.”

After returning from a 15-hour trip back to Barcelona on Wednesday morning following international duty, a frustrated Messi faced questions about his relationship with French forward Antoine Griezmann.

A former agent of Griezmann’s had claimed Messi was difficult to play with at Barca, to which Messi said: “I’m tired of always being the problem with everything at the club.”

When the comments were put to Koeman, he said: “I can understand why Leo was fuming. People should show a lot more respect to people like Lionel Messi.

“After such a long trip, to ask Messi about Antoine is a lack of respect, once again to create controversy.

“I have not seen any problem between the two of them, not in the changing room on the training pitch. There are enough pictures who showing them working well together.

“Someone has said something and that someone has not been a client of Griezmann for three years. It’s bullshit.”

Messi was one of a number of players to return from long trips to play for their countries and Koeman complained that La Liga’s schedule has Barcelona facing Atletico Madrid at 9:00 pm on Saturday.

“And then we hae have to play in Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday night,” said Koeman. “It doesn’t help the big teams or the players.”

Barcelona will be without the injured Sergio Busquets and Ansu Fati at the Wanda Metropolitano while Atletico’s Luis Suarez will be denied the chance to face his former club, after he tested positive for coronavirus.

Atletico will go nine points clear of Barca if they win but Diego Simeone’s side have not beaten the Catalans in La Liga since 2010.

“It’s an important match and we want to get a good result but La Liga is very long and a lot can happen,” said Koeman.

-AFP

Koeman Hails Incredible ‘Talent’ Fati As Barcelona Show Steady Improvement

Barcelona’s Dutch coach Ronald Koeman (R) greets Barcelona’s Spanish forward Ansu Fati during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against Villarreal CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

 

Barcelona’s biggest win over the summer might have been preventing Lionel Messi from leaving but Ansu Fati could yet be the one to lead Ronald Koeman’s recovery.

A brilliant start to the season for the 17-year-old continued on Thursday with another goal, his third from Barca’s opening two La Liga games, which have seen them score seven and concede none.

Add in Fati’s first international goal against Ukraine last month, which made him Spain’s youngest ever scorer, and the sense is of a teenager ready to be trusted now by both his club and his country.

Barcelona have needed a player like Fati, his pace and penetration down the left the perfect foil to the more considered creativity of Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho.

He makes opposition defences sit deeper, nervous of his runs in behind, and gives the team a more direct alternative when possession becomes predictable.

It was the role intended for Ousmane Dembele but the France attacker’s injuries have curtailed his opportunities and Fati has stepped into the void.

“Ansu is a great talent,” said Koeman last week. “There aren’t many players at his age that have the level needed to play for Barca. He has to learn things but he has made his debut for the senior team for a reason.

“For me he is a player of the future but at his age today he is already very impressive.”

Born in Guinea-Bissau but raised in Seville, where he moved aged six, Fati has a fearlessness that scares defenders but most impressive is his maturity, the ability to shoot with a cool head and make the right decisions under pressure.

“Ansu is young but he deserves to be playing,” said Sergi Roberto after the 3-0 win over Celta Vigo on Thursday. “I hope he can keep it up.”

When Ernesto Valverde gave him his debut at the start of last season, Fati had not even played for Barcelona B.

‘A star is born’, wrote Mundo Deportivo but after an explosive start, he faded a little, in part because Valverde was determined not to ask too much from him too soon.

– Fati the future –

But Koeman could now be the beneficiary, even if it remains unlikely Fati will be able to sustain his current level of performance over the next eight months.

His body may not be physically ready for that demand and it would be a surprise if some degree of mental fatigue did not take its toll too.

Yet for now, Koeman has an infectious talent, providing Barca the boost to morale they so dearly needed, not only to blur the memory of the last few months but also to vindicate their new coach and his project.

When Luis Suarez was allowed to join Atletico Madrid, Messi vented his frustration with another swipe at club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

But even Suarez’s double on his Atletico debut on Saturday was overshadowed by Fati, who scored twice against Villarreal and earned a penalty, converted by Messi.

Already, the leap is being made to annoint Fati as Messi’s successor, as well as his partner-in-chief, a weight Koeman will surely be keen to release.

But Barca’s boss will welcome the optimism and excitement for the future that Fati brings, even if he knows there are obstacles still to be overcome.

On Sunday, Sevilla will certainly offer a much sterner test as Julen Lopetegui’s side look to prove they are ready to play a more serious role in the title race this term.

Atletico Madrid have the same ambition, with Villarreal up next on Saturday following Wednesday’s goalless draw at at Huesca. Real Madrid head to Levante on Sunday.

Fixtures

Saturday (All times GMT)

Real Valladolid v Eibar (1100), Atletico Madrid v Villarreal (1400), Real Sociedad v Getafe (1630), Elche v Huesca (1630), Valencia v Real Betis (1900)

Sunday

Osasuna v Celta Vigo (1000), Alaves v Athletic Bilbao (1200), Levante v Real Madrid (1400), Cadiz v Granada (1630), Barcelona v Sevilla (1900)

-AFP

‘Return Of A Legend’ – Koeman Officially Named New Barcelona Coach

In this file photo taken on October 13, 2019 Netherlands' coach Ronald Koeman looks on prior to the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Belarus and the Netherlands in Minsk. Sergei GAPON / AFP
In this file photo taken on October 13, 2019 Netherlands’ coach Ronald Koeman looks on prior to the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Belarus and the Netherlands in Minsk. Sergei GAPON / AFP

 

Crisis-hit Barcelona hailed the “return of a legend” as the Spanish giants on Wednesday officially named Ronald Koeman as their new coach through until 2022.

“FC Barcelona and Ronald Koeman have reached an agreement for the Dutchman to take over as first team coach until 30 June 2022,” the club said in a statement.

Former Barca star Koeman, who has been in charge of the Netherlands since 2018, will replace Quique Setien, who was sacked after the Catalans were humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday.

The 57-year-old, who becomes the fifth Dutchman to coach Barcelona after Rinus Michels, Johan Cruyff, Louis Van Gaal and Frank Rijkaard, will hold a press conference later Wednesday at 1600 GMT.

“More than 30 years after his arrival as a player, Koeman arrives once again as coach at the club that he helped win their very first European Cup back in 1992,” Barcelona said in a statement headlined “Return of a Barca legend”.

“Koeman, the hero of Wembley, is back,” the club added, a day after president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed the Dutchman would take over.

That night back in 1992, Koeman secured his place in Barca history, scoring the winning goal to claim the Catalan club’s first ever success in Europe’s top club competition.

As a player, Koeman arrived in Barcelona in 1989, at the time the second most expensive signing in the club’s history behind Diego Maradona.

In his six seasons as a Barca player Koeman made 264 official appearances, scoring 88 goals as he shone in Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’, winning four consecutive La Liga titles between 1991-94.

– Mixed coaching bag –

Koeman’s coaching career, however, has been mixed and he arrives with the Catalans in crisis.

Setien was fired on Monday after the embarrassment against Bayern which meant Barca finish the season trophy-less for the first time since 2007.

Earlier on Tuesday sporting director Eric Abidal was axed, paying the price for the Bayern trouncing and internal conflict that took place during a league season that saw them surrender the La Liga title to Real Madrid.

Ex-France international Abidal was replaced Wednesday by Ramon Planes.

Koeman will leave his role as coach of the Netherlands to his assistant Dwight Lodeweges, while the national federation searches for a full-time replacement.

The Oranje take on Poland on September 4 and Italy three days later, in Amsterdam as part of the UEFA Nations League.

“It was an honour to be the national coach of the Netherlands,” said Koeman, who would have been in charge for the 2020 European championships, now postponed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For the past two-and-a-half years I have done everything I can to achieve successes with the Oranje.

“I look back with pride on what we have achieved together in that period. The Dutch national team has a bright future, I am convinced of that.”

Koeman said that “everyone knows Barcelona is my dream club”.

“It feels very special to me to be able to become a manager there.”

AFP

Ronald Koeman Appointed New Barcelona Coach

 In this file photo taken on October 13, 2019 Netherlands' coach Ronald Koeman looks on prior to the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Belarus and the Netherlands in Minsk. Sergei GAPON / AFP
In this file photo taken on October 13, 2019 Netherlands’ coach Ronald Koeman looks on prior to the Euro 2020 football qualification match between Belarus and the Netherlands in Minsk. Sergei GAPON / AFP

 

Former Barcelona midfielder Ronald Koeman has been appointed the club’s new coach, the La Liga giants’ president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday.

Koeman, who has been in charge of the Netherlands since 2018, replaces Quique Setien who was sacked after Barca were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals in a 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich on Friday.

According to reports Koeman and his agent were negotiating a two-year contract late on Monday, with the second year dependent on the outcome of the presidential elections.

“Koeman will be Barca’s coach next season,” Bartomeu told the side’s television channel.

“If everything goes OK, Koeman will be the coach we announce and will guide this team and the players with a different project.

“It’s someone the supporters know well, not just as a player but also as a coach.”

Koeman is a hero at Barca after starring for them as a player under Johan Cruyff and scoring the winning goal in the 1992 European Cup final — the Catalan club’s first ever success in Europe’s top club competition.

His coaching career has been mixed and he arrives with Catalans in crisis.

Setien was fired on Monday after the heavy loss which meant Barca finish the season trophy-less for the first time since 2007.

Earlier on Tuesday sporting director Eric Abidal was axed, who also paid the price for the Bayern trouncing and a campaign of internal conflict by surrendering the La Liga title to Real Madrid.

Abidal came under fire for his handling of the dismissal of then coach Ernesto Valverde in January.

The former left-back blamed the players for Valverde’s dismissal in an interview, provoking an angry reaction from the club’s normally discreet superstar Lionel Messi.

Bartomeu’s own position is also under threat according to reports with June’s presidential elections moved forward to March 15.

Mauricio Pochettino was also considered as a replacement for Setien but his previous comments dismissing Barca due to his links with rivals Espanyol have counted against him.

 

AFP

Everton Sack Manager Ronald Koeman

Everton’s Dutch manager Ronald Koeman. Oli SCARFF / AFP

Ronald Koeman became the third Premier League managerial casualty of the season on Monday when he was sacked by Everton.

The 54-year-old Dutchman — who guided Everton to seventh in his first season in charge last term — paid the price for a desperate start to the campaign despite having spent £140million ($185mn) in the close season.

Sunday’s 5-2 humbling at home to Arsenal which saw them drop into the bottom three sealed his fate and despite taking training on Monday he received a visit from club chairman Bill Kenwright.

“Everton Football Club can confirm that Ronald Koeman has left the Club,” read the Everton statement.

“Chairman Bill Kenwright, the Board of Directors and Major Shareholder Farhad Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given to the Club over the past 16 months and for guiding the Club to seventh place in last season’s Premier League.”

Koeman, who arrived at Goodison Park after a successful spell in charge of Southampton, splashed the money on the likes of Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer.

However, despite also persuading former golden boy Wayne Rooney to return from Manchester United he crucially failed to replace record goalscorer Romelu Lukaku with Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud declining the chance to join them.

Koeman joins compatriot Frank de Boer — sacked by Crystal Palace after just four Premier League games — and Craig Shakespeare dismissed by Leicester last week as top-level managers to have departed this season.

AFP

Koeman: Wayne Rooney Is Welcome At Everton

Wayne Rooney, Everton, Ronald KoemanEverton Manager, Ronald Koeman, has opened the door for Wayne Rooney to return to Goodison Park.

The 31-year-old has been linked with a move back to his boyhood club, having struggled to hold down a regular place under Jose Mourinho.

Despite confirming his intention to stay at Old Trafford, his long-term future remains in doubt.

Koeman, however, said he is ready to make a move in the summer should he become available and interested.

He is convinced Rooney can still play at the highest level for two or three years and believes the Manchester United skipper would make Everton a stronger side if he joins the club.

Everton Decline Milan’s Loan Bid For Deulofeu

Gerard Deulofeu, Everton, MilanEverton have rejected AC Milan’s bid for Gerard Deulofeu on loan for the remainder of the season.

However, there are hopes that the Italian side would come back with a new offer.

Deulofeu, 22, has made 13 appearances for Everton since Ronald Koeman took over as manager at Goodison Park last summer.

He joined the Toffees on loan from Barcelona for the 2013-14 season, and subsequently made the transfer permanent in 2015 for £4.3 million.

Middlesbrough and Ajax are other potential destinations for the Spaniard who can leave but is expected to cost a loan fee.

Everton have continued to show interest in signing Manchester United’s Memphis Depay who might join Lyon during the winter transfer window.

Everton Were Impressed By Lookman’s Qualities, Says Koeman

Ademola Lookman, Everton, Ronald KoemanRonald Koeman has revealed that the exceptional qualities possessed by Ademola Lookman were the reasons Everton signed the English forward.

The Dutchman said that the 19-year-old’s versatility across the forward line was a key reason why he was so intent on recruiting him from Charlton Athletic.

He described Lookman as a player who knew what the club wanted and who believed they can make progress as soon as possible.

“First of all, we have been really impressed with his (Lookman) qualities. We will see what happens but he will be involved with the first team because we need to see how his qualities compare to our first-team players.

“He can play from the left side, he can play out of the right wing position (and) he can play like a second striker. He is fast and his movement is very dangerous. He is a player who scores goals.

“I spoke to the boy and he knows what we want, how he needs to train and play, and his behaviour. He’s only 19 and we know it’s difficult for young players to come into the first team at the level of the Premier League, but he’s the type who we believe can make the step as soon as possible,” Koeman told evertontv.

Lookman’s switch on Thursday afternoon was Everton’s first business in the 2017 winter transfer window.

He arrived at Goodison Park on a four-and-a-half-year deal, having scored 12 goals in 49 appearances for Charlton, where he had risen through their academy to first-team stardom.

Everton: Koeman Says Bolasie Could Be Out Until 2018

Everton, Ronald Koeman, Yannick BolasieEverton Manager, Ronald Koeman, says Yannick Bolasie may be out for a year with a knee injury.

Koeman, who made the announcement on Wednesday, described the winger’s injury as a big disappointment.

“It will be around 11-12 months before he is back. That is a big disappointment but he will come back,” the Dutchman said.

Bolasie hurt his right knee during the Toffees’ 1-1 draw with Manchester United on December 4, 2016.

The 27 years old is due to have a second operation (on his anterior cruciate ligament) in the coming weeks.