Barcelona FC has announced Ronald Koeman as the new head coach of the Club.
“Joining the club on a near two-year contract until June 2022, the Dutchman has left behind his responsibilities as the manager of the Netherlands national team to replace the ousted Quique Setien.
Although previously receiving backing from president Josep Bartomeu as the La Liga title slipped away to Real Madrid, Setien could no longer continue in the Camp Nou hotseat following Friday’s abysmal result against Bayern Munich.
In what was their darkest night on the continent in a rich 121 year history, the Blaugrana were destroyed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals in Lisbon.
Swift changes have been demanded in the wake of the defeat, with an emergency meeting called on Monday by Bartomeu and the board of directors to resolve a crisis that could see Lionel Messi leave in the near future.
Setien’s head was first on the menu, with his dismissal made official in the evening in Spain as rumors had already circulated that Koeman’s appointment would follow.
The 57-year-old now finally assumes a role he turned down in January when Setien was appointed to replace the ousted Ernesto Valverde.
Now announced on Wednesday morning, it is hoped that Koeman’s standing as a Dream Team legend that played under Cruyff, and scored the winning goal in the 1992 Champions League final against Sampdoria at Wembley, will earn him the respect of the “sacred cow” locker room heavyweights. Yet some have their doubts.
As Spanish soccer journalist and novelist Colin Millar points out, a “failure to manage egos” is said to have been one of Koeman’s biggest shortcomings in his last job in La Liga.
As the manager of Valencia, for whom he won the Copa del Rey, the Dutchman’s tenure at the Mestalla is largely remembered as a disaster with preferential treatment of some players over others causing rifts.
On the other hand, though, others are optimistic that he might be able to bring out the best in compatriot Frenkie de Jong where Valverde and Setien struggled to deliver.
At 18.00 CEST, Koeman will be presented at the Auditori 1899 before holding a press conference with president Josep Bartomeu and new sporting director Ramon Planes who has supplanted the fired Eric Abidal.”