Ronald Koeman hits out at Joan Laporta over “painful” Barcelona exit

Ronald Koeman has criticised Barcelona president Joan Laporta for the circumstances surrounding his sacking from the club.

The Dutchman departed Los Cules in October after 14 months in charge. Barca won the 2020/21 Copa del Rey and finished third in La Liga in the same season during his spell at the club.

Off-the-field issues regularly dominated Koeman’s time at Barcelona. For instance, he was forced to deal with the departure of Lionel Messi after the club could not afford to renew his contract last summer.

Ronald Koeman Messi
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There was also controversy involving long-serving striker Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan revealed that Koeman called in the summer of 2020 to inform him that he wasn’t in his plans. He said the call lasted 40 seconds.

Suarez also called out Koeman, suggesting he “lacked personality” to inform him of the true reasons behind the decision. He eventually signed for Atletico Madrid.

Read: Luis Suarez says phone call from Koeman lasted 40 seconds

On the pitch, Barcelona found themselves in a position to win La Liga during his first season in charge. However, they suffered a humiliating collapse to draw 3-3 against Levante in May after being 2-0 up. They ultimately finished in third place.

Why did Koeman leave Barcelona?

Barcelona decided to part company with Ronald Koeman in October. The decision came after the club had lost four of their last six games. One of those was a 2-1 El Clasico defeat to Real Madrid.

The Champions League form was also poor. They lost two of their opening group stage games, including a crushing 3-0 defeat to Benfica.

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Barcelona appointed former player Xavi as manager. He could not prevent them from sliding out of the Champions League. However, improved performances have seen the side rise to fourth place in the La Liga table.

Koeman criticises Laporta over Barcelona exit

Ronald Koeman Barcelona
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Ronald Koeman has opened up about his Barcelona departure to Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

He has criticised the part that Barcelona president Joan Laporta played in his sacking and revealed that he felt the writing was on the wall as soon as the 59-year-old took control.

Koeman explained (quotes via Mundo Deportivo): “I was not Laporta’s coach. I had that feeling from the first moment. After the elections, there was no click. That necessary support from above was lacking.

“The important thing was not money for me. I really wanted to succeed as a coach at Barcelona, to do everything I could, but I realised that Laporta wanted to get rid of me because I wasn’t appointed by him.

“He had told me a thousand times that Xavi would not be his coach, because he lacked experience. But he needed a shield, someone to hide behind.”

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