After 14 months in charge of Barcelona, manager Ronald Koeman has been sacked.
Just over a year after taking the job, Koeman was ‘relieved of his duties’ on Wednesday 28 October 2021 after Barcelona lost 1-0 to Rayo Vallecano.
What’s happened at Barcelona?
Barcelona currently sit ninth in La Liga, two points behind Athletic Bilbao in eight and six points behind the top four clubs who are all in 21 points.
Not only have Barcelona only won four out of their ten La Liga matches, but they have also already lost two games in the Champions League. Both Benfica and Bayern Munich beat Barcelona 3-0 on 14 September and 29 September 2021 respectively.
The defeat to Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday came shortly after another defeat to Real Madrid on Sunday 24 October 2021. Real Madrid won 2-1 against Barcelona which resulted in many Barcelona fans circling Koeman’s car appearing to bang or kick the 58-year-old Dutchman’s car as he drove away.
During his time at Barcelona, Koeman has experienced 16 defeats in 67 matches.
The Spanish club has been experiencing significant financial difficulties in recent times, leading to Lionel Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain last season. It was thought that the financial crisis was the only reason Koeman had been able to keep his job for as long as he did.
What has FC Barcelona said?
A statement from the club said “FC Barcelona has relieved Ronal Koeman of his duties as first-team coach. The president of the club, Joan Laporta, informed him of the decision after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano.
“Ronald Koeman will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday at the Cuitat Esportiva. FC Barcelona wishes to thank him for his service to the club and wishes him all the best in his professional career”
Who else has Ronald Koeman managed?
Koeman, who played for Barcelona from 1989-1995, first started managing in 2000 when he took the role at the Dutch club, Vitesse. Since then, he has spent time at ten other teams including Ajax, Benfica, Everton, Southampton and the Netherlands national team.
In 2014, Koeman was appointed manager at Southampton and in his first six months with the club, Saints rose up to second in the league standings and the Dutchman was named Premier League Manager of the Month for September, an award which he won again the following January. Southampton finished seventh in the league.
The 2016 season saw Southampton finish in their highest ever Premier League position (6) after achieving a total of 63 points which qualified them for the group stages of the UEFA Europa League.
Koeman signed with Everton in 2016 and led them to qualify for the Europa League but was sacked the following season after Everton fell into the relegation zone.
The former Dutch national footballer signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with his home nation which would have taken him to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. However, in 2020, he resigned from his managerial role with the Netherlands in order to take on the position at FC Barcelona.
What’s next for the ex-Southampton manager?
After Newcastle United’s recent sacking of Steve Bruce, it seems highly plausible that the Magpies’ new owners could be looking towards Koeman as the new permanent replacement.
Graeme Jones is currently undertaking the manager role following the departure of Bruce but Amanda Staveley, the Newcastle chairman, has made it clear they are looking for someone to take Newcastle to the top of the league.
Koeman would never have been of interest to Newcastle in previous years, but their new status as the richest club in the world allows them to be able to consider Koeman as a possibility.
Who will take over at Barcelona?
Former Barcelona player, Xavi Hernandez, is currently the bookies’ favourite to take the role at the Spanish club.
Hernandez left the side in 2015 after being a key part of the club’s success, helping them win La Liga eight times and the Champions League four times.
He ended his playing career at Al Sadd, a Qatari club, and became their manager in 2019. As manager, he has already led the side to seven trophies, including the Qatar Stars League in 2021.
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