“Since joining Barca as the head coach, Koeman never proved that tactically he is sound and inspiring enough to motivate a fragile Barca unit, whereas, he maintained his rudeness that led to the exit of some of the greats. It created an instant vacuum for which Barca suffered and time and again, Koeman could never come up with tactics that could stabilize the team”
Finally, the hierarchy of Barcelona has taken the decision to relieve Ronald Koeman of his duties as the head coach. One must applaud the patience Barcelona showed with Koeman over the years despite his below-par managing and this drastic measure should have been taken long ago.
After months of speculation regarding his future, the defeat to Real Madrid in Sunday’s Clasico coupled with the loss away at Rayo on Wednesday proved to be the final straw.
Ronald Koeman is regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the history of Dutch and world football and at Camp Nou – he was one of the vital cogs of Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona that charmed the world back in the early 90s with their attacking and fluid football.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 27, 2021
As a player Koeman was one of the leaders at the back, who was equally effective as an attacker and playmaker as well. For the Dutch and Braca, he was a free-kick specialist and his winning mentality always helped to keep the spirits alive during the bumpy rides.
After retirement he chose to become a coach and managed various clubs – sadly, the history of his managing has never been satisfactory.
Koeman, as a manager, is like a hard taskmaster.
Rather than being a father figure, he always tried to dominate players and his ploy to insult the top performers of the club never brought him anything good.
One can accept such dominant behaviours if the coach proves his worth.
October 27, 2020: Josep Bartomeu resigns as president of Barcelona
October 27, 2021: Ronald Koeman is sacked as manager of Barcelona
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 27, 2021
Since joining Barca as the head coach, Koeman never proved that tactically he is sound and inspiring enough to motivate a fragile Barca unit, whereas, he maintained his rudeness that led to the exit of some of the greats. It created an instant vacuum for which Barca suffered and time and again, Koeman could never come up with tactics that could stabilize the team.
He was given the freedom to work with the players and plans he wished for, but the outcomes have always been disastrous.
Football writer Graham hunter wrote in his column, “Last spring, senior players around the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training ground were muttering to one another that they simply didn’t believe that this version of Koeman, 58, hidebound by old tactical ideas, manacled to the club because they didn’t want to pay for his sacking, would win them La Liga or the Champions League. And, remember, they were saying this not many weeks after winning the Copa del Rey together.”
According to Sport journalist Joan Vehils, Ronald Koeman was involved in a heated discussion with one of Barcelona’s senior players during the half-time interval of the Champions League meeting with Benfica in Lisbon.
It was another episode that reflects the distance which has opened up between the coach and his players, on top of the well-publicized ruptured relationship with club president, Joan Laporta.
Barcelona this season:
🔹 Five defeats in all competitions
🔹 Ninth in La Liga
🔹 Third in Champions League group
🔹 17 goals already conceded
🔹 One away goal scored in all competitions
Ronald Koeman leaves Camp Nou in a mess 😩 pic.twitter.com/JI1XFru8NC
— Goal (@goal) October 28, 2021
During the first half of the Benfica game, the most significant incident, apart from Darwin’s opener, was the decision to take off Gerard Piqué, who had been booked. The central defender, who is in a poor moment of form, was replaced by Gavi. His face, as he was substituted, was a picture.
After Pique went off, De Jong was forced to drop back a few meters, leaving the team without punch going forward.
The version of events reported by Sport adds that a tense conversation took place, and while tensions didn’t escalate into anything serious, it is obvious that a division has opened up between Koeman and the players due to the coach’s blunt way of expressing himself.
– Luis Suarez joins Atletico and wins La Liga
– Lionel Messi leaves for PSG as club enter financial meltdown
– Lose first two UCL games
– Lose El Clasico
– 9th in La Liga
🚨 RONALD KOEMAN HAS BEEN SACKED 🚨 pic.twitter.com/W4Dl15LJ8p
— GiveMeSport (@GiveMeSport) October 27, 2021
The way he explained that the team are not in the running to win anything this season has not gone down well with the squad – and especially with the captains, who have responded publicly.
“I don’t play here to end up in second place,” Pique said.
“We are Barça and I can’t see any other clubs with better squads than ours,” was Sergi Roberto’s response.
While Araujo, who arrived recently, added, “We want to win La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Super Cup – everything.”
After losing to Rayo Vallecano, Ronald Koeman stopped for a moment to take a final look at the pitch 😔
Hours later, he's gone ❌ pic.twitter.com/V4O9kFEM9B
— Goal (@goal) October 27, 2021
At Wanda Metropolitano, Barca digested defeat against Atletico Madrid with Luis Suarez’s epic celebration that was dubbed as a mocking towards Koeman, which made life harder for him.
Koeman succeeded Quique Setien as Barcelona manager in August 2020 and decided to axe Suarez from his plans.
Koeman contacted Suarez on the phone and told him that he had no desire of keeping hold of him in a call that lasted 40 seconds.
Suarez, whose move to Juventus collapsed in that summer, was visibly upset with his Barcelona departure and went on to sign for Atletico Madrid.
Suarez opened up about his infamous phone call with Koeman, who he slammed for his handling of the situation.
Speaking to Gerard Romero on Twitch, Suarez said, “The call from Koeman to tell me that [I wasn’t in his plans] lasted 40 seconds, it’s not the way to say goodbye to a legend.
“First, he told me that I wasn’t in his plans, and then he told me that if I didn’t get my contract sorted out, I was going to play against Villarreal.
“He lacked the personality to tell me clearly if he didn’t want me or if it was really the club that didn’t want me.”
📻 🎙 Luis Suárez Miramontes (ex-Barça) on @carrusel "There are difficult problems to solve, but with Koeman you are not going anywhere. The players have to say 'we're in this situation because of us'."
— FCBarcelonaFl (@FCBarcelonaFl) October 27, 2021
Suarez made an instant impact at Atletico in his debut season and finished top scorer for the club en route to the La Liga title – he scored 21 times in La Liga during the 2020-21 season, finishing behind Gerard Moreno, Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi in the top scorer chart.
Suarez recalled how both his family and Messi’s family were going through a “very bad time” in the summer of 2020.
“They were very difficult days because of everything I gave to the club,” he added.
“I spoke to Sofia [Suarez’s wife] and Leo after the phone call. It was a complicated year due to everything.
“Messi asked to leave and I was being sent away. Both of our families had a very bad time.”
Back in February, there was news of a rift between Koeman and Antoine Griezmann, but he denied speculation over a rift between him and La Blaugrana star Antoine Griezmann.
Koeman opted to start the French international on the bench in their 2-0 La Liga win at Sevilla with Martin Braithwaite and Ilaix Moriba brought on instead of him.
Ronald Koeman is the first Barcelona manager in 81 years to lose his first three El Clasicos 😬 pic.twitter.com/B3XiSCuRie
— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) October 24, 2021
However, the Dutch coach has moved to dismiss talk of an issue between them, stating the decision was based on a tactical tweak against Julen Lopetegui’s side.
A few months later, Griezmann was seen joining his old club Atletico Madrid on loan.
Then, there was the exit of Moriba from Camp Nou.
Moriba was beside Ansu Fati, the best that has gone through The Masia in a decade. The past year, Koeman awarded him minutes and confidence; he knew it take advantage of.
Under the current circumstances of the Barcelona picture, Ilaix would have been very useful in the Barça. It is absurd that Moriba, following the strategy of his new agents of Rogon, did not want to renew by the Barça and was out of the club that has been his house.
Yes, the Barça ingreso 16-million that allowed him to inscribe to Luuk of Jong –neither crack, neither youngster-, but lost to a jugadorazo with a lot of future. Ilaix Moriba and his agents decided to choose the economic profits, and this same decision perhaps affect him in his sportive future.
Moriba Knew well his sportive value. The economic requirements of the footballer and of his agents for Barcelona were very high, by what was impossible to attain a consensus between the Barca and the young midfield player.
President Joan Laporta, still, kept his faith in him and said a few weeks back, “Ronald Koeman will continue as Barca coach. We feel he deserves a certain amount of confidence for many reasons.”
“We can all understand the reactions because we are not getting results, but I ask the supporters to have some confidence in the coach – he deserves it.”
Riqui Puig right now that Ronald Koeman has been sacked:
— RB🤺🇦🇷 (@messaitama) October 28, 2021
While the Dutchman’s staying at the helm is good news for some such as compatriot Luuk de Jong, who continues to earn minutes despite poor returns in front of goal, it is bad for others.
Famous outlet, SPORT had highlighted two victims sentenced by the hero of ’92 at Wembley not receiving his marching papers, with Riqui Puig chief among them.
According to Forbes, “A 22-year-old Catalan raised in the La Masia academy, who has been on the club’s books for the best part of the last decade, the midfielder naturally receives a big cheer from match-going fans every time he is brought on for a bit-part cameo at the end of a home fixture at Camp Nou.”
“But as implied, regular playing time has not been forthcoming with just four starts (two in La Liga, two in the Copa del Rey) since Koeman arrived at the beginning of last season. In the ongoing one, he has amassed just 72 minutes despite the symbolic act of being handed the number 6 jersey once donned by Xavi Hernandez.”
“Preseason has seen the younger Nico Gonzalez and Gavi gain prominence and rises above him in the pecking order too, and Puig has also refused to go out on loan to another club. But it is only with Koeman’s exit that he stands a chance of finally succeeding with his boyhood outfit.”
Fans mobbed Ronald Koeman's car after Barcelona's defeat in El Clasico 😬
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 24, 2021
Laporta might have patience but not the Barca fans, surrounded Koeman as he attempted to leave Camp Nou, shouting insults at him and striking his vehicle, with Barca later branding the incident “violent and disdainful.”
Well, this week, the end of Koeman regime has been confirmed, even though, he could be credited for the emergence of some promising talents, still, the negatives are so much, those things become irrelevant.
Now, the big question would be, who is next?
Who would be the next head coach of Barca?
It seems that the appointment of Xavi Hernandez is just a matter of time – well, Barca would need someone who is competent enough to manage the players and make them strike the right chord according to the tactics which suit them better.