Ronald Koeman does not think he has failed as a coach of Barcelona. Due to the mixed sporting performance, Koeman was fired in October 2021; shortly afterwards, Xavi was presented as a successor. Initially, Barcelona performed a lot better under Xavi, but in recent weeks the results have been subpar: the last three home games (against Eintracht Frankfurt, Cádiz and Rayo Vallecano) have all been lost.
Koeman will speak to the Spanish press on Thursday at the opening of the so-called Koeman Cup, a golf tournament whose proceeds will benefit the Cruyff Foundation. “Cruijff would have turned 75 this week. I am very proud that the proceeds of the Koeman Cup will go to the Cruyff Foundation. But I know that some of you also want to talk about other things, so I will answer some questions.” says Koeman with a laugh. This includes his period at Barcelona. “When I left, Real Madrid had an eight-point lead. Now it’s double,” says Koeman. He was sacked after the eleventh round, when Real indeed had eight points more. Barcelona was then ninth. The club is currently second, fifteen points behind the rival.
The Dutchman says he can write a book about his employment of more than fourteen months. “A lot has happened: the coronavrius, a time without a chairman, I had to answer all kinds of questions, could not bring in the players we wanted, Lionel Messi left overnight, on the last day of the transfer market Antoine went Griezmann gone… I’ve received a lot of criticism for signing Luuk de Jong, but he has always fitted well into the role I envisioned, he has already given Barcelona five or six points in the last few minutes. I don’t feel like I’ve failed as a trainer.”
Luuk de Jong gave Barcelona a victory over Levante (2-3) and a draw against Espanyol (2-2) with late goals. He also secured points as a base customer against Real Mallorca (0-1 win) and Granada (1-1), although these were not late hits. In the difficult matches of the last two weeks, he could not save Barcelona either. “The situation hurts me because I am a cule“said Koeman. “The current situation in Barcelona is the same as when I was a coach. A new trainer does not always mean progress. I don’t want this statement to be interpreted as a criticism of Xavi. I just hope that Xavi gets the support from the chairman that I didn’t have.”
“I hope that he (chairman Joan Laporta, ed.) has learned from it and that Xavi, a club legend from Barcelona, gets the confidence he deserves. He is not guilty of the state of the club,” Koeman makes clear. He explains why he didn’t feel confident from Laporta himself. “Everyone knows the life of a trainer: if things don’t go the way the club would like, they can kick you out. But the chairman left me in doubt. Off the record he said (in the media, ed.) he had doubts about me. That is not good. Inside you have to have clear discussions, but outside you have to defend the trainer. Otherwise it gets even more complicated.”
Does Koeman see a return Barcelona sit? “I focus on the Dutch national team,” he says. Koeman will start working for the Orange squad after the 2022 World Cup. In his capacity as national coach, he will again work with Frenkie de Jong, who, according to Sport is in the spotlight of Manchester United and Bayern Munich. “I don’t think Barcelona wants to sell Frenkie de Jong. He is a great player,” said Koeman. “He has had some matches in which he did not reach his top level, but I do not doubt him. For me he is a certainty for the Orange. I hope he comes back. Sometimes a player is praised in heaven and he has to go two weeks later. suddenly be sold.”