Ronald Koeman has been sacked from his post as Barcelona head coach after 14 months in office.
After weeks of speculation, Koeman’s last game was the 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Wednesday night, his fourth loss in six games in all competitions.
A brief statement was posted on the club’s website confirming that President Joan Laporta had relieved the Dutchman from his duties as first-team coach.
He added: “Ronald Koeman will say his farewell to the team on Thursday at the Ciutat Esportiva.
“FC Barcelona would like to thank him for his service to the club and wish him the best in his professional career.”
Current Barcelona B coach Sergi Barjuan will temporarily take charge of the first team while a decision is made on Koeman’s successor.
Pressure had grown on Koeman since a 3-0 defeat at Benfica in late September, making this season the club’s worst start to the Champions League.
They succumbed to a 2-0 away defeat to Atletico Madrid in La Liga on October 2, with former striker Luis Suarez scoring the second goal at the Metropolitano stadium, and they lag behind leaders Real Madrid by six points. the league.
Their 2-1 loss to Real Madrid at Camp Nou on October 24 was Koeman’s third consecutive El Clasico loss, and after the final whistle the Barcelona boss was targeted by a crowd of fans who have attacked his car while trying to drive. away from the stadium.
After Wednesday’s loss, Koeman said: “He [Barcelona’s league position] said we are not well.
“The team lost their balance in the squad, lost very efficient players, which you can see. In recent years, other clubs have grown stronger every season and not us, which also shows.”
Koeman was appointed in August last year and in his debut campaign led Barcelona to third place in La Liga and won the Copa del Rey.
But he struggled in his second season following the departure of Lionel Messi, who left as a free agent this summer to join Paris Saint-Germain with financial problems leaving Barcelona unable to pay his salary.
What went wrong for Koeman? What about Xavi next?
Koeman, who spent six years with Barca as a player, was brought back to the club in August 2020 by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
New chef Joan Laporta, however, has often made it clear that the Dutchman is not his nomination.
The duo had a rocky relationship, with Koeman issuing a statement last month calling for him to be given time to rebuild after losing Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in the transfer window.
However, that wish was not granted and the club will now seek a replacement for the 58-year-old, with former midfielder Xavi – currently in charge of Al Sadd in Qatar – apparently in talks about a return to the country. club.
“Xavi at Barça is only a matter of time”
ESPN Barcelona correspondent Sam Marsden told Sky Sports News:
“Xavi would be perfect because he is loved by the fans, he is considered the second coming of Pep Guardiola if you will. The central midfielder who has been the key to Guardiola’s squad and to that Cruyff philosophy and to the way Barca think he should play.
“From what I’ve seen and talked to people in Qatar it’s obviously a completely different level from La Liga but it looks like his team is playing that way. Santi Cazorla plays under Xavi and said he was radical in his convictions, and that’s what Barça think they want, we’ll see if it works with these young players.
“Everything points to Xavi. Joan Laporta is in talks with him today (Thursday), it seems to be a matter of time before Xavi is appointed now.
“It looks like a good fit. If you look at Barcelona midfielder in Pedri, Gavi, they also have the basis of a midfielder for the next 10 years with Frenkie de Jong.
“De Jong is someone who thinks Xavi can take his game to the next level, there was a feeling he might not have reached the next level that many expected.
“If you look at this midfielder, with Xavi’s emphasis on possession, position and pressing play, he has the players out there for the next few years, if he can nurture them and develop them, he could have a very good team. “
“Xavi ready to go home”
La Liga TV presenter Semra Hunter told Sky Sports:
“Xavi Hernandez, a club legend, has expressed in public that he would one day like to manage Barcelona and that he is willing and ready to come home as soon as he gets the call.
“He would be happy to come back and take the job, but so far nothing has been said about a contact.
“If Barcelona want to compete with the elite, then maybe they need to bring in someone else. In 10 games against some of the biggest clubs in the world – Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich for example in the Champions League – they only won one with Koeman in charge.
“There is a big gap behind some of these top clubs that needs to be shut down. The games have shown that Koeman may not be the right person for the job. Maybe it’s just that he is the right person but not at the right time. “
“A tough job at Barca too big for Koeman”
Oliver Yew from Sky Sports:
“Barcelona are no longer the force they once were and Sunday’s loss to Real Madrid in El Clasico – their fourth straight El Clasico loss – was a stark reminder of that.
“Koeman was recruited at the end of one of Barcelona’s most successful eras and he was given the unenviable task of trying to lead the Catalan giants into uncharted waters as they sought to move from Lionel Messi talisman.
“It was tough work, especially with the off-pitch issues that plagued the club, but it proved too much work for the Dutchman as he leaves with Barcelona languishing in ninth place in La Liga.
“Koeman, speaking to the press after his third straight loss at the hands of Real Madrid – thought his side were improving, but it was hard to see how. They were second against Real on Sunday and it was clear to see this which was a not-so-classic Barcelona Clasico performance.
“Another defeat, this time at the hands of Rayo Vallecano, proved to be a step too far for the powers that be at Camp Nou as they ultimately relieved the former Everton boss of his post.”
Koeman’s final interview
After the 1-0 loss to Rayo, Koeman said: “In the first 15 minutes we had some problems getting into the game. They pressed us hard but after that I think we controlled the game. on a small pitch against a team that runs a lot and presses hard, we had some good chances but we didn’t finish them.
“Today we lost the game not because of our attitude, not because of the way we played because I don’t think there are other teams who had so many chances against them, so the problem is that we haven’t scored and I can’t say anything else.
“We may not be lucky. We may have injured players but those are excuses because the team showed today and showed in the game against (Real) Madrid that we are at a good level. But being at a good level is not enough. What matters in the end is always the result and we have lost the last two games. Everyone has to analyze their games and I try to analyze today’s game – it’s amazing that we lost.
“Over the past few years our rivals, the top teams, have been getting stronger every season, when we couldn’t do it. And that’s something that matters too – not in today’s game because in today’s game, injuries played a huge role. I think we played a good game, although you shouldn’t be talking about ‘good games’ when you’re not scoring. “
Barcelona’s next six matches
October 30: Alaves (H) v La Liga, 8 p.m.
November 2: Dynamo Kiev (A) – Champions League, 8 p.m.
November 6: Celta Vigo (A) v La Liga, 3.15 p.m.
November 20: Espanyol (H) – La Liga, 8 p.m.
November 23: Benfica (M) – Champions League, 8 p.m.
November 28: Villarreal (A) – La Liga, TBD