Barcelona president Joan Laporta has admitted that he could have dismissed Ronald Koeman from his post as the first-team boss earlier than he did.
As quoted by Mundo Deportivo, Joan Laporta has opened up about the decision to sack Ronald Koeman from his post as the first-team manager. The Barcelona president has admitted that the decision could have come sooner than it did but also added that he wanted to give the Dutchman some confidence before the situation became untenable.
Ronald Koeman returned to Barcelona as their manager at the onset of the 2020/21 season. His appointment could not have come at a worse time for the Catalan outfit, as they were going through a financial crisis. At the same time, then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu and other senior club officials were subsequently docked on corruption charges.
In addition, Lionel Messi’s situation was as uncertain as it had ever been since he joined the club. However, Koeman steadied the ship to greatly, even delivering the Copa del Rey title last term while clinching a top-four finish comfortably. But things started going pear-shaped as the 2021/22 campaign beckoned.
It all started with the shock departure of Messi after Barcelona were unable to tie him down to a new contract. Shortly after, Antoine Griezmann was loaned out to Atletico Madrid, with their dire financial situation worsened. With Barcelona’s attacking unit a shell of what it had been last season, they were unsurprisingly toothless in several games.
Koeman’s job subsequently came under threat, with wins coming at a premium for Barcelona. However, through it all, current president Joan Laporta gave his support to Koeman, who also received backing from a few players, including Frenkie de Jong. Now, though, Laporta has admitted that he could have sacked Koeman earlier than he was.
When asked whether he could have made the decision sooner than he did, the Barcelona president said, “Possibly, yes. It’s easier to analyse it afterwards. It’s the same if I would have decided before, but we understand that Koeman deserved a margin of confidence.”
“It was a way of motivating the coach and the team. Possibly, we had to have decided it before and I assume responsibility over this decision. The situation was unsustainable. We have come into a dangerous drift in which we could fall out of everything.”
As he has iterated, Laporta did vocally give Koeman “a margin of confidence”. However, with the morale team’s morale headed consistently south, his sacking invariably became a matter of when than if. Sergi Barjuan is now in temporary charge of the first-team, and Xavi will likely come in as the next permanent boss. As for Koeman, it will be interesting to see where he will land next following his Barcelona exit.