Ronald Koeman has opened up on his dismissal as the Barcelona manager, claiming he did not get as much time as Xavi Hernandez.
In an interview with Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, as quoted by MARCA, Ronald Koeman has lifted the lid on his departure from Barcelona. The Catalan club’s former manager has alleged that he did not get enough time to prove himself as Xavi Hernandez has since replacing him.
Ronald Koeman’s ill-fated reign as the Barcelona manager started at the onset of the 2020/21 season. With the Blaugrana reeling from their disastrous 2019/20 campaign, which included an 8-2 hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, Koeman had an uphill task to galvanise the squad.
Barcelona struggled to remain in contention for a title push last season, while their Champions League campaign was hardly memorable. But there was a minor positive as Barcelona went all the way in the Copa del Rey, beating Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in the final.
But despite some of his team’s memorable performances, Koeman was always under pressure from Joan Laporta, with some of the Barcelona president’s comments being unwarranted. So it was hardly surprising that Barcelona sacked Koeman after an abysmal start to the campaign that left the club languishing in mid-table in La Liga while being on the cusp of Champions League ouster.
Koeman: "I didn't get the same time as Xavi." pic.twitter.com/vrlx6hUFYl
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) March 3, 2022
Xavi replaced Koeman and has since done well to stabilise the ship to some extent. A top-four finish looks likely, although the Catalan giants are now down in the Europa League after exiting the Champions League at the group stage. And Koeman has now alleged that he did not get the time to prove himself, at least not as much as Xavi Hernandez has since replacing him.
In an interview with Algemeen Dagblad (h/t MARCA), Koeman said, “You won’t see me at the Camp Nou for a while, I can’t do that yet. With this president I can’t pretend nothing happened. They didn’t give me the time they have given to the new coach, Xavi. It is still painful for me. I was working with a lot of injured players. Now Pedri is back to fitness, and Ousmane Dembele – you can see everything falling into place.”
Koeman then spoke about Messi’s departure, which clearly hamstrung him earlier this season, “It was at the insistence of the club’s management that I agreed to the departure of some players to get the finances in order. But then when you see someone being brought in for 55 million euros [Ferran Torres] shortly after letting Lionel Messi go. It’s then you wonder if something else wasn’t going on. Why did Messi have to go?”
Koeman’s words do ring true to a great extent, as he was constantly under pressure, which Xavi has not faced in the last few months. But with Barcelona now looking like a menacing team, Xavi is set to get Laporta’s backing. And despite being coy on his side’s Europa League chances, it is likely that Xavi could lead Barcelona to the Europa League title this season.