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Has Ronald Koeman Come To The End Of His Time At Barcelona?

Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman

September 22, (THEWILL) – The post-Lionel Messi period at the La Liga club Barcelona is not passing on smoothly and matters appear to have come to a crucial point with dissatisfaction at the top, where Joan Laporta is frustrated with results, and at the manager level where coach Ronald Koeman is reacting with his press conference approach.

On Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s La Liga clash against Cádiz at the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla, Koeman held a most unusual pre-match press conference, which ideally could not be called a press conference as he refused to take questions from the media.

Instead, on the stage for the usual pre-match meeting with the media, the Dutchman appeared with his prepared statement and proceeded to read through, calling for faith in the young players coming through at Barca, while insisting that he has the confidence of the club’s board.

Koeman then thanked the fans for their support and sought to lower on-field expectations further with the saying that “miracles should not be expected” in the Champions League, especially for this first season in decades that the side will be without Messi.

The abrupt nature of Koeman’s presser was just as shocking to the Barça communications department, whose members were not informed of the brevity of the press conference as the Dutchman did not clear with them. However, the club’s first-team captains were told of Koeman’s plan, moments before the coach read his statement.

In his own words, Koeman’s statement read: “The club is behind me as coach in a situation of reconstruction. The sporting situation is linked to the financial circumstances and vice versa, and that means we have to rebuild the club and the squad without making large investments, and that needs time.

“The young talents coming through can be world stars in a few years. The good thing is that the youngsters will get opportunities, just as Xavi and [Andrés] Iniesta did, but patience is required.

“Finishing high up in LaLiga would be a success, and in the Champions League miracles should not be expected. The defeat against Bayern Munich should be viewed from that perspective. The process the squad is currently in deserves to be supported unconditionally, in words and actions. Support the process we’re carrying out.”

He however did not finish without crediting the press: “I know that the press appreciates this process. It’s not the first time in history that this has happened. We count on your support in these difficult times. We as a squad are very happy with the great support we got from the fans against Granada.

“Visca el Barça.”

Koeman exited the stage immediately after leaving the Barca communications team scratching their heads and the sports press looking at each other. There seemed to be an unpalatable notion expressed in the silent stares that the days of Koeman in the dugout of the Catalan club were numbered.

It has come to a point where it is a question of time, money and finding the right replacement before giving Koeman the sack. Following Monday’s disappointing home draw with Granada in La Liga, there was no redemption for Koeman’s standing in the eyes of club president Laporta as his joy to retain Koeman’s

The cash situation is heavily weighing on Laporta’s desire to bring in new coaching talent or the return of current Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, who won the UEFA Champions League while in the manager position at Barca but who recently was revealed to have signed a fresh contact at City earlier this year, as THEWILL reported.

Koeman will therefore remain in charge as no alternatives were available and willing to take his place. The financial hurdles towards sacking the coach also remain stumbling blocks, albeit to a lesser extent than in July, when the club was in such a parlous state that Laporta had to stage an about-turn after telling Koeman that he was looking for a replacement.