Ex-FC Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has broken his silence on his exit from the club and complained that president Joan Laporta did not give him the same time afforded to Koeman’s successor in the dugout Xavi Hernandez.
Dream Team legend of the early 1990s Koeman conceded an interview to Algemeen Dagblad where the Dutchman touched on a number of topics.
“You won’t see me at Camp Nou for a while,” Koeman warned. “I can’t do that yet. With this president I can’t pretend that nothing happened.”
“They didn’t give me the time they gave the new coach, Xavi. It’s still painful for me. I was working with a lot of injuries. Now Pedri is back in shape, and Ousmane Dembélé … You can see everything [falling into place],” Koeman further protested.
“Every coach needs time and patience from the board. I would have liked those signings too,” Koeman said of winter transfer market reinforcements such as Adama Traore, Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“But I’m happy for the club, since things are going better now, and for the players. It’s nice to see Frenkie de Jong play good old-fashioned football, he has such quality,” Koeman conceded.
“I was not Laporta’s coach, I had that feeling from the first moment. After the elections there was no click. That necessary support from above was lacking,” Koeman revealed. “The important thing was not the money for me. I really wanted to succeed as a manager at Barcelona, to do everything I could, but I realized that Laporta wanted to get rid of me because I wasn’t appointed by him.”
As for the loss of the club’s greatest player of all time in Lionel Messi, who walked to Paris Saint Germain as a free agent when Barca couldn’t navigate La Liga’s strict salary cap and offer him a new deal, Koeman said that it was “at the insistence of the club management that I agreed to the departure of some players to put the finances in order”.
“But then when you see that they bring someone for €55m ($61m) shortly after letting go Lionel Messi…Then you wonder if there wasn’t something else going on. Why did Messi have to leave?” Koeman asked.
Giving up the Netherlands national team coach role to manage the Blaugrana, Koeman is now out of work after a Camp Nou tenure that lasted little over a year after replacing Quique Setien.