Ronald Koeman has been appointed Barcelona head coach on a two-year deal.

Barcelona also announced on Wednesday that Ramon Planes is the club’s new technical secretary, a day after Eric Abidal was sacked from the post.

The 57-year-old Dutchman replaces Quique Setien, who was sacked following Barca’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Koeman, who spent six years as a player at Barcelona and was a member of Johan Cruyff’s legendary ‘Dream Team’, has taken on the job after he left his role as manager of the Netherlands, which he had held since 2018.

He would take the responsibility of a team that is in tatters and Koeman has a tough task ahead of him.

As a coach, he has the experience, but the journey has not been up to the mark.

Ronald Koeman was a fantastic player for the Netherlands during his playing days.

He was not only a tough center-back but was one of those defenders in the 90s, who could score goals and led the team from the front. He was one of the vital cogs of the Dutch side that conquered former West Germany in 1988 and brought Barcelona glory in the European competitions back in 1992. Again, he was the driving force of that much-hyped Barcelona team of Johan Cruyff back in the early 90s.

After six years and over 200 appearances at Barcelona, Koeman left Catalonia to return to the Netherlands in 1995.

In joining Feyenoord, he became one of the few players to represent all of Dutch football’s “Big Three”. Koeman spent two seasons in Rotterdam, captaining Feyenoord to third- and second-place finishes in the Eredivisie respectively.

Koeman ended his career with 193 league goals from 533 matches (ahead of Daniel Passarella, who netted 182 goals in 556 matches) during his career, more than any other defender in the history of football.

Having retired as a player after his stint with Feyenoord, Koeman became a member of the coaching staff of Guus Hiddink during the 1998 World Cup along with Johan Neeskens and Frank Rijkaard. After the tournament, Koeman was appointed the assistant coach of Barcelona, and in 2000, he was handed his first managerial job as the head coach of Vitesse, where he led the team to a UEFA Cup spot on a relatively limited budget.

Koeman was appointed the manager of Ajax in 2001. Ajax’s fortunes suffered a steady decline after Koeman got off to a successful start at the Amsterdam Arena, winning a domestic double in 2001–02. Despite regaining the title in 2003–04, Ajax had fallen eight points behind rivals PSV in the Eredivisie. This situation, coupled with Ajax being knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Auxerre, 3–2 on aggregate, led Koeman to resign the following day on February 25, 2005.

Koeman bounced back quickly from a disappointing end to his reign at Ajax in February 2005, taking up the vacant position at Portuguese champions Benfica following the departure of legendary Italian Giovanni Trapattoni.

In Benfica, Koeman only won the Portuguese Super Cup; the team finished the Portuguese League in third place – behind rivals Porto and Sporting CP and was knocked out of the Taça de Portugal in the quarter-finals (after losing to Vitória de Guimarães).

This, along with an offer from PSV, sufficed for the manager to leave one year before the end of his contract. Under Koeman Benfica did reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League; eliminating Manchester United in the final game of the group stage and Liverpool in the first knockout stage, before losing to Barcelona, who ended up winning the trophy.

In the 2006–07 season, Koeman served as head coach of PSV, as the successor to Guus Hiddink. PSV dominated the first season half, keeping competitors AZ and Ajax at a reasonable distance, and PSV seemed almost destined to become champions again. PSV, however, suffered in the second half of the season, also because of injuries of players Jefferson Farfán, Alex, and Ibrahim Afellay, obtaining only 19 out of 39 possible points.

AZ and Ajax regained their momentum, making for a close finish, with all three teams tied at 72 points before the last competition day. AZ played struggling Excelsior in their final match but did not manage to win. Ajax played at Willem II, but did not score enough goals; it was PSV eventually who triumphed, winning at home 5–1 against Vitesse Arnhem, and thereby becoming Eredivisie champions, one goal ahead of Ajax.

For the second consecutive season, he guided a team to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, this time defeating another English club in the shape of Arsenal in the first knockout stage, before losing to Liverpool in the quarterfinals.

In October 2007 Koeman agreed to coach the Spanish club Valencia.

With Valencia, he won the 2007–08 Copa del Rey, a tournament he previously won as a player with Barcelona. This was Valencia’s first Copa del Rey, since 1999.

A good start, but the remainder of his regime in Valencia had been utterly disappointing.

he team would slump to 15th in the league, only two points above the relegation zone, as well as finishing bottom of their Champions League group. A 5–1 defeat by Athletic Bilbao would prove the final straw for Koeman’s time with Valencia. He was sacked the following day, in April 2008.

He returned to coach AZ and it was disappointing as well.

In June 2014, Koeman was announced as the replacement for Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, signing a three-year deal with the club. His brother Erwin was appointed assistant manager.

In June 2014, Koeman was announced as the replacement for Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, signing a three-year deal with the club. His brother Erwin was appointed assistant manager.

In his first six Premier League games in charge of the club, Koeman managed four wins, a draw, and a defeat, propelling Southampton to second place in the league standings and resulting in Koeman being named Premier League Manager of the Month for September.

In January 2015, Southampton won all three of their matches, including a first win at Manchester United since 1988, and Koeman was again named Manager of the Month.

He led Southampton to a seventh-place finish at the end of the season.

Koeman won his third Premier League Manager of the Month for January 2016, on the way to Southampton’s highest ever Premier League finish, sixth place, highest ever Premier League points total, 63, and qualification for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.

The time at Southampton was very good and it led Everton to sign him as the manager in 2016.

In his first season, Koeman led Everton to qualification for the Europa League.

Prior to the 2017–18 season, Koeman was given the largest budget in Everton’s history to spend on new players.

An estimated £150 million was spent on new players, but Koeman admitted that he had not bought a center-forward to replace Romelu Lukaku, the previous season’s squad top scorer who had been sold to Manchester United.

Koeman was sacked by the club on 23 October 2017, after his side fell into the relegation zone, following a 5–2 home defeat against Arsenal the previous day.

Koeman later stated his belief that the failure to sign Olivier Giroud in the summer transfer window contributed to his sacking.

In February 2018, Koeman was appointed manager of the Netherlands national football team on a four-and-half-year contract up to and including the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He replaced Dick Advocaat who resigned after failing to guide the Netherlands to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Under his regime, The Oranje finished as the runners-up in the UEFA Nations Cup.

He was entrusted with the responsibility to bring the Dutch team back to track, but failed to ignore the lucrative and challenging offer from Josep Maria Bartomeu.

“Everyone knows that Barcelona is my dream club,” Koeman told the Dutch Football Association’s website. “It feels very special to me to be able to become a coach there.”

“It was an honour to be the national coach of the Netherlands. Over the past two and a half years, I have done everything I can to achieve success. 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.”

Victor Font is the frontrunner to be the club’s next president and he has pledged to bring in legend Xavi as coach. So, any decisions Koeman makes may prove wasteful and irrelevant, within the space of a year.

“We have to be grateful that Koeman wants to come to Barcelona in these circumstances but it’s a pity,” said Font on Tuesday night, speaking to RAC1 radio.

“He arrives for a project with no structure and no future. It’s a risk that should be avoided. If we come out on top (in the elections), we will not bet on him as our manager.”

Indeed, right now, all is not well in Barcelona.

The most important job for Koeman would not be to bring on players and play them according to his pan, but how he gels with the most protected player in this world – Lionel Messi – would be the subject of interest of many in Camp Nou.

Over the years, Barcelona have become a club, where coaches and players, except Messi, have become like the sacrificial lambs – it is never easy for a coach to manage a team by giving the priority of one player’s comfort zone and then arrange a team – Ernesto Valverde and Setien were a cruel victim of the power of a cult figure.

In Barcelona, all can be blamed or made a scapegoat, but not Lionel Messi and that is why Barcelona have been suffering.

They forget that football is a team game and each and every player is equal and no one is above the team.

Whether Koeman would be able to break this mind-boggling practice of individual worship culture in Barcelona one cannot predict, but until and unless Koeman ends this practice, Barcelona cannot become better as a team and might face the worst outcomes in future.

Koeman has come to Camp Nou by creating a lot of buzz.

But how long will it continue remains a moot question!

Will Koeman be the next scapegoat?


Only time will tell.

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