Ronald Koeman believes he was not afforded the same support successor Xavi has received from the Barcelona hierarchy and says he will not return to the club while Joan Laporta remains president.
In an interview with Dutch newspaper AD, Koeman also questioned why Lionel Messi had to leave Barca, only for the club to reinvest in new attackers under Xavi.
Koeman, who made 264 appearances for the Blaugrana as a player, was sacked as the club’s head coach last October, sitting ninth in LaLiga.
The former Netherlands boss has now opened up on his tenure in the Barca dugout. He battled with a dire financial situation and the departure of Camp Nou icon Messi, saying Laporta did not afford him the support he needed.
“I just wasn’t Laporta’s trainer,” Ronald Koeman said:
“I had that feeling from the very first moment I met him after he won the election [in January 2021]. There was no click. The necessary support from above was lacking.
“He told me a thousand times that Xavi would not become his trainer either because he lacked the experience. But he needed a shield, someone to hide behind.
“You won’t see me in the Camp Nou for a while. I can’t do that yet. Not with this chairman. I can’t pretend nothing happened.
“The time the new trainer was given was not given to me. I still find that painful. I dealt with all those injuries. Now Pedri is fit again, and Dembele. [Xavi] had the same problem as me initially: many injured players.
“Every trainer needs time and patience from the leadership. Xavi got that and reinforcements. He has gained three attackers [Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang]. I would have liked that too.
“But I’m happy for the club, that things are going better now, and for the players.”
However, Dutchman admits confusion over Laporta’s approval of the big-money contract
the signing of Torres in January, mere months after the club’s financial crisis, led to Messi’s departure.
“It was at the insistence of the club management that I agreed to the departure of some players,” Koeman stressed.
“To get the finances in order.
“But when you then see that they attract someone for 55million [the fee paid to Manchester City for Torres] shortly
after they let Messi go, you wonder if there wasn’t more going on.
“Why did Messi have to leave?”
The arrivals of Xavi and a host of new attackers have had a significant impact on the Catalan club, and Barcelona go into
Sunday’s trip to Elche unbeaten in 10 LaLiga matches (six wins and four draws).
This marks their longest unbeaten run in the competition since April 2021 (19 games) and the second longest current run (Sevilla are unbeaten in 12).
For Champions League qualification, the Blaugrana are currently battling a host of clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Real Betis, and Real Sociedad, sitting fourth in LaLiga with 13 games remaining.
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