It is not entirely clear if Ronald Koeman is still at FC Barcelona because he has one more year of contract and the club did not have money to liquidate him in case of firing him – as it was contemplated -, or if it really is a bet of the president Joan Laporta, with everything and what happened the previous season.
The Dutchman is one of the last legacies of the historical disaster called Josep María Bartomeu, as he returned to Barça as coach after another calamity, that 8-2 of Bayern Munich in the Champions League when Quique Setién led the team.
In his 25-year career as a manager, Koeman had not been ‘eligible’ for the club’s bench where he was a legend as a footballer; nevertheless, Bartomeu considered it a solution in the middle of the Barcelona debacle.
In this way, the coach decided to abandon the national team to try to start rebuilding a Barça in ruins … And one of his first decisions was to throw out several ‘big shots’: Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Luis Suárez.
With the results already known: the Uruguayan, who was given away to Atlético de Madrid, ‘broke’ it and the Colchoneros won La Liga in large part thanks to their goals. And to think that Koeman ran with a phone call to the third top scorer in the club’s history, and at that time Messi’s best partner.
He did not start his term well because Leo himself made public his dissatisfaction with the way they treated Suárez. In fact, it was to Koeman that Messi communicated about the famous ‘burofax’ and his idea of leaving Barcelona.
In terms of football, the season was very unfortunate. For the first time in 13 years, Barça did not pass the Eighth Final of the Champions League after not putting their hands in front of Paris Saint-Germain.
He lost the Super Cup and most seriously, he let LaLiga escape in an incredible way by not adding the required points against minor rivals such as Eibar or Celta de Vigo.
And no, the most serious thing was not losing LaLiga, but how he lost it. The team’s style of play throughout the football year was extremely poor and far from Barça’s historical philosophy.
100 percent dependent on Messi, with a weak defense to which the coach never found a solution or improvement; without elaboration, without possession, and the saddest thing, defending advantages of a goal at the Camp Nou against opponents of little hierarchy.
That’s Koeman in his version of a coach. Yes, he won the Copa del Rey by a miracle after dodging the Quarter-Finals and Semifinals against Granada and Sevilla in extra time, and with a plethora of Messi in the Final against Athletic Club. The Copa del Rey, the minor trophy of the season.
It is a fact that the absence of the public during Koeman’s first year at the helm of Barça benefited the coach, since the Camp Nou does not usually forgive such poor exhibitions and above all, so far removed from the style that characterizes the team.
The season ended with the bitter taste of not even reaching the last game with a chance to fight LaLiga, and the continuity of the Dutchman – with good reason – was called into question, but after weeks of “analysis” Laporta came out to give Koeman a boost , who has this year more than his contract.
Today, a year after Ronald Koeman’s presentation with Barcelona, the future does not look very promising. Without Messi, with the same contempt for homegrown players like Riqui Puig, with the same idea of defending advantages by piling up people and playing to divide the ball in the outings (Date 1 against Real Sociedad), you cannot expect much.
The barcelonismo clamored for Xavi Hernández or less for a technician who really bet on playing ‘a la Barça’. And Koeman is a student of Cruyff and has a Dutch school, yes; but neither one nor the other applies them, and this Barcelona is experiencing a clear setback since its arrival, becoming a common and current team.