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Ronald Koeman supports Xavi after departure announcement

Ronald Koeman / FC Barcelona
Ronald Koeman / FC Barcelona

Ronald Koeman defends Xavi following his resignation as Barcelona manager.

Ronald Koeman, the current coach of the Netherlands national team and former Barcelona coach, came to the defence of Xavi Hernández following the announcement that the Barcelona coach would leave the club next summer due to the strain of the role. Speaking on ESPN’s ‘Good Morning Eredivisie’ program, Koeman sided with Xavi, stating, “Being the coach of Barça is an attack on mental health.”

Koeman, who preceded Xavi as the manager of Barcelona, acknowledged that his tenure with the Catalan club was “the most difficult job I’ve ever done. I experienced pressure and stress,” admitted the Dutchman, despite having had the opportunity to work at many clubs and for his country’s national team on two occasions. Ronald also added to the pressure generated by Barcelona, stating that, unlike Xavi, “I had a conflict with Laporta.”

Having both played and coached at Barcelona, Koeman admitted that being a player for the club brought more joy than coaching. “Being a Barcelona player is much more fun than being a coach, and Xavi, as a Catalan and a club legend, surely noticed this,” he remarked.

Koeman also speculated on factors that may have contributed to Xavi’s challenges, including his limited coaching experience before taking charge at Barcelona. “He came from Qatar and then joined Barcelona. He wasn’t used to receiving negative criticism, only praise,” reasoned Koeman, who added that the media “points an accusing finger at you. If things don’t go well, it’s the coach’s fault. I also experienced that stress and pressure,” he admitted.

Reflecting on his own time as Barcelona’s coach, which lasted only a year and a half and included winning the Copa del Rey and securing a third-place finish in LaLiga, Koeman confessed that he enjoyed being a player more. “Being a Barcelona player is much more enjoyable than being a coach, and Xavi, as a Catalan and a club icon, surely noticed this,” he concluded.