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Barcelona board in doubt over Koeman’s future as manager

Ronald Koeman on the sideline during FC Barcelona vs. Juventus at Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League / DAVID RAMOS/GETTY IMAGES EUROPE
Ronald Koeman on the sideline during FC Barcelona vs. Juventus at Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League / DAVID RAMOS/GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

ESPN reported on Monday that the future of FC Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman past the end of the season is in doubt among Barça’s board.

The former Barça player signed a two-year contract with the Blaugrana last August, which is set to expire on 30 June 2022. However, the team’s form this season is leading some board members to believe Koeman isn’t fit for the job.

Koeman’s critics claim that his defensive style of play doesn’t fit the club and that it has led to poor results this season.

Despite winning the Copa del Rey last month, Barça has failed to win in many important matches this season. The team hasn’t beaten Atlético Madrid or Real Madrid in LaLiga, and it was knocked out by Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

The team lost 2-1 to Granada on April 29 in a match that would have propelled it to the top of LaLiga. Barça now sits in third place with 75 points after Saturday’s goalless draw with first-place Atlético at Camp Nou.

Atlético leads LaLiga with 77 points, followed by second-place Real Madrid with 75 points. Barça must win its remaining games while Atlético and Real drop points in order to win LaLiga.

According to ESPN’s report, some board members would see Koeman axed even if he wins the domestic double. His supporters, however, praise him for the job he has done so far during the club’s internal crisis and his belief in Barça’s young players, such as Pedri, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza, and Ilaix Moriba.

The Dutchman shrugged off talks about his future in a press conference on Monday. He said he expects to remain at the club until his contract expires next year.

“From the first day, [president Joan Laporta] has shown me his confidence, for me it is not something that I have to be worried about,” Koeman said. “I signed for two years as a coach and I see myself as a coach next year. We have arranged to speak with the president when the season ends. This LaLiga finale is more important and not my future.”

Laporta backed the Dutchman when he was elected as club president in March following Josep Maria Bartomeu’s resignation last October. However, ESPN’s report states that Laporta has become frustrated with the team’s results under Koeman, specifically its loss to Granada.

The manager is already preparing for next season by looking to add Lyon winger Memphis Depay on a free transfer this summer.

Koeman believes Barça can still win LaLiga, but his side must focus on itself and not on Atletico Madrid or Real Madrid

“No, we are still there,” he said. “We must not think about others, but about ourselves.”

Blaugrana legend, Xavi Hernandez, is reportedly an option to replace Koeman if he is sacked in the summer. The former Barcelona player is set to sign a new two-year deal as manager of Al Sadd in Qatar, according to AS. However, he has a “Barça clause” that will allow him to leave if given the chance to manage the Blaugrana.