When Ronald Koeman took over Barcelona at the beginning of last season, his first job was to call Luis Suárez and tell him that it was not part of his plans. The club was cutting costs, just one summer after the full financial crisis.
Koeman knew that he was losing an important player but he did, as requested by the one who had just hired him, the president of the club, Josep Bartomeu. And so it began.
There was a Copa del Rey to celebrate last season but Bartomeu was sent off and replaced by Joan Laporta. And Lionel Messi left this summer with Antoine Griezmann not far from him.
Ronald Koeman has been fired by Barcelona after his defeat against Rayo Vallecano in LaLiga
The Dutchman’s first job was the ruthless abandonment of Lionel Messi’s best friend, Luis Suárez
Just as the team deteriorated over time, so did the results and performances under Koeman and it all ended with his firing on the plane back from another loss.
The flight from Madrid to Barcelona is short, but it didn’t take long for President Laporta and his directors to agree on something that they probably now feel they should have done in the summer.
Laporta never wanted Koeman in the first place, but was unable to find a suitable coach to step in last summer or the financial leeway that would allow the club to find the £ 10.1 million (€ 12 million) reward.
Koeman recorded fewer than two points per game during his tenure: statistics from SofaScore
Worse than your boss doesn’t love you is that your boss tells the whole world that he doesn’t love you. It was an open secret that Koeman took over last summer because you couldn’t find a better one.
Without Laporta’s support he, at least, needed the club’s fans to back him up but they demand a certain type of football and Koeman was never close to producing it. He was a pragmatist in a football institution where philosophy is set in stone and you have to stick to it regardless of resources.
Last season he fixed the team’s tendency to give up on almost every counterattack by moving to three center-backs with full-backs.
The change helped Barça win the Cup and be in a great position to win the League. If he had delivered the double he could have been forgiven for straying from 4-3-3 but his team exploded in the filming, leaving the despised Suarez to score the goal on the last day of the season that gave Atlético the title. .
In the summer it was clear that the team needed to work to play Barcelona’s way. But the preseason was once again treacherous terrain for the coach.
Josep Bartomeu was replaced by Joan Laporta as president but luck has not changed
He knew that the difficult financial situation of the club meant that anyone could leave. All the players knew that they could be sold if the right offer came along; it was not the environment from which to build.
At least it seemed that Messi was not going to be one of those who leave. Laporta had won the elections by convincing supporters that the Argentine was staying. They brought in their friend Sergio Agüero as a sweetener and it looked like the club’s savior would be Koeman’s savior when the new campaign began. Not so.
With Messi gone, Barcelona shook up the deadline trying to bring in more free transfers. Koeman had loved Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum, but lost him to PSG.
He also lost to Ilaix Moriba, whom he had bloodied the previous season and who offered the same power in midfield. No midfielder joined and the attack was cut even further with Antoine Griezmann moving to Atlético. Barcelona signed Luuk de Jong when the window was closed.
Messi was Koeman’s savior, but even the great Argentine left in a shocking turn of events
Koeman lost Ilaix Moriba, whom he had bled the previous season and who offered power
It has been said that Koeman ‘asked about De Jong’. They told him that ‘De Jong or nothing’ seems closer to the truth. Either way, he started the season with a much worse roster than the previous season.
On the first day of the new post-Messi era, Barcelona beat Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou, but that was for the best.
With Ansu Fati slowly recovering from a serious knee injury and Ousmane Dembélé permanently unavailable, the attacking options were not good and worsened with Agüero starting the season injured and Martin Braithwaite, who scored twice on the opening day, also ruled out long. term.
Koeman could at least point to Memphis Depay as someone from whom he had applied for the club’s poster and who was complying.
Sergio Agüero, signed in a free transfer in summer, has only been available recently
Memphis Depay missed a penalty for Barça in the loss to Rayo, Koeman’s last game in charge
Lyon’s free agent started the campaign brilliantly by scoring a spectacular first goal for the club in Barcelona’s first away game of the season.
But that is still the last goal Barcelona has scored away from home. The Memphis form vanished. He kicked the ball on Sunday when Real Madrid scored the first goal and missed a penalty last night that could have gotten Barcelona out of trouble against Rayo Vallecano.
Winger Sergino Dest is another Koeman recruit. He missed from five yards last night and shot from a little further with the open goal Sunday.
Frenkie de Jong was another of Koeman’s compatriots and someone who was expected to bring out the best. But De Jong’s form has also been on the decline, leaving Sergio Busquets struggling in midfield.
Winger Sergino Dest is another Koeman recruit – he missed a big change on Wednesday
For a time, Koeman was able to single out the players he had urged the club to sign as his hits, but that was no longer the case in the end.
It could also point to the way he had brought in Pedri, Gavi and Nico, who look like the future of Barcelona’s midfield. But the club’s fans don’t want that midfield in the hands of Koeman, not when someone like Xavi can take over and work with them.
His epitaph at the club will be ‘it is what it is,’ he said after the club was defeated by Bayern in their first Champions League match.
Even if it was true, it was not necessary to say it out loud.
Leave the club in the middle of the table and leaving the Champions League right now
And while it could explain a loss to Bayern, it couldn’t justify it to Benfica and certainly not to Rayo, who had not beaten Barcelona for 19 years.
He leaves the club in the middle of the table and leaves the Champions League unless the results improve.
As a player, he will always be the man who scored the goal that won Barcelona’s first European Cup. As a coach, he was driving them out of Europe and into the desert. They need to be saved, and for a long time it was obvious that it was an impossible job for him.