Tag Archives: Koeman

Koeman reveals his ‘next line of action’ amid Barca’s defeat.

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Koeman drew further anger from Barcelona fans when he was spotted briefly laughing and joking with PSG midfielder Idrissa Gueye, a player he previously managed at Everton.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman quickly dismissed suggestions he could quit his job in the wake of Tuesday night’s 4-1 Champions League defeat at Camp Nou against Paris Saint-Germain.

Koeman had earlier said he was confident about Barcelona’s chances in the Champions League this season, insisting he didn’t think there any other team significantly better than his own.

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Instead, the Dutchman watched on as Barça were torn apart by PSG and Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick. It leaves the Catalans needing the kind of once in a generation miracle comeback they managed against PSG in 2017, but that looks far beyond this particular side.

Despite improved form in La Liga in recent weeks, Barcelona are still way off the pace in Spain. But the problems at the club are far bigger than just Koeman and he has no intention of walking away.

Ronald Koeman saw Barcelona embarrassed by PSG | David Ramos/Getty Images

“If I was someone who gets happy when we win and then after a result like today said I had no desire to continue, that would be crazy,” he is quoted as saying by ESPN.

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“I know where I am and what we have to change. We’re trying. We’re not at the end of the path yet, we’re halfway down it,” the 1992 European Cup winner added.

Koeman was honest that his team is still lacking in key areas, having made a concerted effort to bring through young players and refresh the squad since last season’s 8-2 Champions League annihilation at the hands of Bayern Munich which cost predecessor Quique Setien his job.

“You always have to aspire to win everything, but we have to recognise that we’re short in certain areas,” the 57-year-old explained.

“I have said several times that we’re on the right path, but we lack things. [Sergino] Dest at 20, in four years will be better. Pedri, at his age is already brilliant, but in five years he will be better than any PSG midfielder.”

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Koeman drew further anger from Barcelona fans when he was spotted briefly laughing and joking with PSG midfielder Idrissa Gueye, a player he previously managed at Everton.

Earlier this season, Koeman appeared to concede the title race in late December, which also didn’t sit well with fans as it gave the impression the club was giving up with half a season to play.

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Koeman focuses more on Alaves than PSG

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Barcelona must negotiate a LaLiga encounter against Deportivo Alavés before their pivotal Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.


Ronald Koeman insists the match in LaLiga between Barcelona and Deportivo Alavés is more important to him than discussing Paris Saint-Germain or Neymar.

A huge Champions League last-16 tie between Barça and PSG begins at Camp Nou on Tuesday and Neymar has been ruled out against his former club through injury.

But Barça boss Koeman stressed the home Alavés match on Saturday was most important to him because it is what comes next.

He also suggested he was considering squad rotation but would not make significant changes prior to the PSG game because he lacks options.

Copa del Rey defeat to Sevilla
Barça lost 2-0 to Sevilla last time out on Wednesday in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie. It was their first defeat inside 90 minutes in 17 matches across all competitions.

But they have won seven and drawn one of their last eight LaLiga games with Alavés.

“I don’t think Neymar is an Alavés player,” Koeman said when asked about the injury to the PSG forward.

Focused on Alavés
“This is a question for Monday, not for today. I’m not talking about Neymar, I’m not talking about PSG.

“Saturday’s game is more important than Tuesday’s. We are going game by game and we want to continue our good streak.

“The result of the Sevilla game is there but we played a very good game. If we repeat the game, we do not lose.

“We dominated in many areas against Sevilla, but you also have to have a bit of luck. We need freshness, but the team is feeling very well.

“You don’t play a second half like we did in Seville if the team is not physically well.”

Defenders Gerard Piqué and Ronald Araújo are unlikely to be risked against Alavés.

Koeman added: “Sergino Dest, Miralem Pjanic and Martin Braithwaite have done something [in training on Friday].

Koeman not rushing back Piqué
“[On Saturday] there is training and we will decide if they are on the squad list.

“For Araújo or Piqué, I always believe in the margin of a risk. The objective is to recover players until the end of the season.

“If it is the last game of the season, you can risk more, but I am not in favour of risking a lot for a game.

“Those players have to recover well and step by step. If they are there and they can play, even better.”

On the prospect of rotation, he continued: “Of course there are players who have been playing for many minutes with us not having everyone available.

“You have to think about giving rest to those players to be well in the next game. [But] not many [will be rotated], because there is not much we can change either.

“We look at the players, we train and we will decide. By winning the game, you are always mentally less tired than when you don’t win.

“The goal is to win. But first you have to play and it will be difficult.”

The Alavés match will start a run of four consecutive home games and Koeman added: “It’s good to have back-to-back games at home because you save yourself traveling.

“We can rest more now and hopefully we will get players back to start having a very competitive squad again.

“It is good to see the youth team players and the youngsters play, but we need our more competitive players back.”

Lionel Messi has scored 10 goals against Alavés in LaLiga in as many appearances against them, including four in his last three.

If he plays against Alavés, he will equal the record held by Xavi for most Barça league appearances by playing in his 504th top-flight match.


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Barcelona reveals when Ansu Fati would return from November injury.

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Sport and others say that he was due to return to the training pitch at the start of February, but his recovery is behind schedule, and that has not happened.

Barcelona midfielder Ansu Fati has suffered a set-back in his return from injury, as reports in Spain say it will be April at the earliest before he is back on the pitch at Camp Nou.

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The 18-year-old is one of the most highly-rated young wingers in Europe and had started the season with five goals in ten appearances before a knee injury forced him off against Real Betis back in November.

The serious nature of the injury came to light in the hours after the match and it soon became apparent he would have to undergo surgery to amend the issue.

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That procedure was undertaken later in November, and the initial prognosis was that he would be out for around four months.

Fati has been out since November | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

As the season wore on, the Champions League second leg with PSG at Parc des Princes on 10 March emerged as a target date, and earlier this week, Barca boss Ronald Koeman expressed a cautious hope that this was on track – though he was reluctant to make any promises.

On Tuesday, he said (per Marca): “Hopefully he can participate [against PSG in France], but I am not sure. The most important thing is that he recovers well but I am not going to set a date.”

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Unfortunately, reports that have since come to light suggest that his cautious tone was well measured.

Sport and others say that he was due to return to the training pitch at the start of February, but his recovery is behind schedule, and that has not happened.

Acknowledging that the club do not want to commit to a date that would add pressure to the youngster, the consensus is that he won’t feature again until some time in the middle of April.

He is expected to undergo another surgery soon, and could go under the knife for a third time depending on how things progress.

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PSG on 10 March, at least, is now viewed as an impossibility, meaning Barca will have to navigate a tricky last 16 tie without one of their best attackers.

Ronaldo Koeman is hopeful Fati will return to face PSG | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

They go in in decent shape, however – while they are ten points from La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, they remain undefeated in the league in 2021, and have won their last five on the bounce.

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Ronald Koeman blast PSG’s Di Maria over comment on Messi.

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Koeman did express his delight with his team’s performance on the night after Barca came back from two goals down in normal time and then scored three goals in extra time.

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has hit out at Angel Di Maria over the PSG forward’s comments suggesting Lionel Messi could join him in Paris next season.

Messi’s contract at Camp Nou expires at the end of the season and PSG have been mentioned as a possible destination, in part because they are one of only a handful of clubs that could afford the Argentine star’s massive wages.

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PSG’s sporting director Leonardo has opened the door to a move, telling France Football last month: “Great players like Messi will always be on PSG’s list. But this is of course not the time to talk about it, or to dream about it.”

Di Maria echoed his sporting director’s comments on Wednesday after his side’s 3-0 win over Nimes.

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“Yes, yes, I hope so,” Di Maria told Canal Plus of a possible PSG move for his international team-mate. “There are many possibilities. We have to be calm and things will develop.”

Koeman got word of those comments and speaking after Barcelona defeated Granada 5-3 in an extra-time thriller in the Copa del Rey, the Dutch manager accused Di Maria of being disrespectful.

“It seems to me a lack of respect. Someone can be wrong in saying something like that,” Koeman said.

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“It is not fair, I do not think it is respectful towards Barca to speak like that of a player who is ours. So many people from PSG talk a lot about Leo, who plays for Barca.

“Besides, we have a tie against them,” Koeman added, referring to the teams’ upcoming Champions League last-16 matchup.

Koeman did express his delight with his team’s performance on the night after Barca came back from two goals down in normal time and then scored three goals in extra time.

“It’s incredible,” Koeman added. “The football is incredible. I think we’ve done well. We had chances to win the game earlier.

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“The team has been huge. In the last five minutes of the second half, we scored two goals. Then extra time was incredible

“The first thing that stands out about the team is their mentality. We never stop trying.”

Story Source: Goal.com

@newsworthywriter

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Koeman reacts after Messi get 2-games suspension.

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Spanish Football Federation Competition Committee deemed a two-game suspension sufficient – but Barcelona have announced their intention to appeal and this has been supported by Koeman.

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has backed the club’s decision to appeal Lionel Messi’s suspension following the Argentinian’s red card against Athletic Club in the Supercopa de Espana final.

With Barcelona trailing 3-2 in injury time, Messi’s run was blocked off by Asier Villalibre and the forward responded by striking the Athletic Club striker round the back of the head.

The incident was not initially seen, but after the referee consulted the VAR monitor, Messi was shown a straight red card – the first of his club career.

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Despite reports suggesting the six-time Ballon d’Or winner could be slapped with up to a 12-game ban, the Spanish Football Federation Competition Committee deemed a two-game suspension sufficient – but Barcelona have announced their intention to appeal and this has been supported by Koeman.

“The club has told me that they do not agree on it and we will see,” said the Barcelona manager (via Blaugranagram.) “There are things that can be defended and it is a matter for the club, hopefully they will reduce the sanction, otherwise we will play two games without Messi.

“He has trained without problems this morning and it means that he has recovered well from the last game and will be good to play when he has to play after his suspension.”

With his two game suspension, Messi is currently poised to miss Barcelona’s Copa del Rey last 32 tie against Segunda B outfit Cornella on Thursday evening, followed by Sunday’s La Liga clash with struggling Elche.

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He would then be in contention to return the following Sunday for Barcelona’s league meeting with Athletic Club – the side against whom he initially incurred his suspension.

Barcelona currently sit third in La Liga – seven points behind leaders Atletico Madrid – after another turbulent season on and off the pitch.

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Koeman defends decision to play Messi after first career ‘red card’

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Messi was well off the pace and allowed his frustrations to boil over in stoppage time, striking Asier Villalibre and being shown the first red card of his club career after VAR intervened, but Koeman insisted that it was the 33-year-old’s decision to play.

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has defended his decision to play Lionel Messi in Sunday’s Spanish Supercopa final defeat to Athletic Club, in which Messi picked up the first red card of his club career.

The Argentine had been a doubt for the game after missing the semi-final with a hamstring injury, but he was surprisingly named in the starting lineup and played the entire 120 minutes, putting in a performance which looked like that of a player who wasn’t fully fit.

“After so many years, he knows when he is fit to play and when he is not,” Koeman said (via Marca). “He has decided to play, nothing more. He was fine.

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“I understand what happened. I don’t know how many fouls he has made. The player tries to dribble and cannot. Can I excuse him? I have to see the play first.”

Koeman also declined to give his opinion on the performance of referee Gil Manzano, adding: “I’d better not speak. It would be repeating things and I don’t like it. I’m not going to give an opinion.”

Ronald Koeman defends Lionel Messi’s appearance despite historic career red card. (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

Fortunately for Barcelona, Manzano did not describe Messi’s foul as ‘aggressive’ in his match report, instead stating the Argentine used ‘excessive force’, a charge which brings about a lighter punishment.

It’s expected that Messi will now miss just two matches – the Copa del Rey third round against Cornella and the league meeting with Elche – whereas he could have been sidelined for anywhere up to 12 games if it was deemed as aggressive.

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That decision will likely frustrate Villalibre, who claimed after the game that it was clear Messi set out to physically hurt him.

“I put my body in his way to stop him from going forward, he has got angry, he has put his hand in my face and I think it was a clear show of aggression,” the Athletic forward said.

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Eric Garcia move to Barcelona ‘uncertain’.

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Only Font was supportive of Tusquets’ proposal to sign Garcia for a total of £7m, with both Laporta and Freixa turning their noses up at the idea.

Barcelona will not move for Manchester City centre-back Eric Garcia in January after the club’s three presidential candidates failed to agree on pursuing the deal.

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Garcia is one of Barça’s top targets and the club are prepared to wait until the summer to sign him on a free transfer once his contract expires, but club officials would like to bring him in a little sooner to help out immediately.

The problem for Barcelona is that all transfer business will be left to the new president, who was initially expected to be decided in elections on January 24. These elections have now been delayed, meaning there will be no permanent president before the closure of the winter transfer window.

According to Marca, acting chief Carles Tusquets met with the three candidates, Victor Font, Joan Laporta and Toni Freixa, to see whether all three would be happy for him to pull the trigger on Garcia now, but the responses did not match up.

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It’s not clear whether they would prefer to wait and sign him for free or whether they are simply against the idea of landing Garcia altogether.

Eric Garcia move from Manchester City to Barcelona not certain as presidential candidates fails to agree. (Noble Reporters Media, Olamide)

Because the trio could not agree, Tusquets will not be pursuing the defender, and Barcelona are now not expected to make any signings before the delayed elections can be held on March 7.

Manager Ronald Koeman has previously confessed his desire to see the club sign a new striker this month, but said on Saturday: “If it’s not possible to sign players, it’s not possible. We’ll carry on with what we have.”

It’s thought that Barcelona don’t have enough money in the bank to make any real splashes this month, so club officials will instead wait until the summer to pursue their primary targets.

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Alongside Garcia, decisions will have to be made about Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and Lyon forward Memphis Depay, both of whom will also be available on free transfers unless they can agree new deals at their current clubs.

Koeman is keen to bring in all three players and would ideally like them as soon as possible, but he’s going to have to stay patient.

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Furious Koeman can’t explain how he feels after El Clasico’s defeat

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Barcelona reacted furiously to the VAR decision that cost them the Clasico with Ronald Koeman accusing the video assistant referee system of only giving decisions against them. One club director went further abusing the referee on social media.


Real Madrid beat Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp but the game turned in the second half when Sergio Ramos had his shirt pulled by Clement Lenglet and VAR prompted the referee to check the incident pitchside.

Koeman told Barca TV: ‘Every decision goes against us. In five games there have been none in our favour. There was the [Leo] Messi penalty against Sevilla that was not given and the red card against Getafe. Today’s penalty is just something that happens in the area.’

Lenglet’s tug on Ramos’ shirt convinced Juan Martinez to point to the spot and the Real Madrid captain scored the penalty to put his side 2-1 ahead.

Koeman added: ‘I don’t think it’s a penalty. VAR in Spain only acts against Barcelona.’

Betis fans were also furious with the decision because their striker Toni Sanabria was involved in an identical situation a week early and no penalty was given.

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One Barcelona director went even further and had to apologise online. Xavi Vilajoana, who is director at the club of women’s football and Barcelona B tweeted: ‘This is a f*** scandal. Munuera f off.’

He later tweeted apologising if he ‘had offended anyone’ with the message.

Barcelona full-back Sergino Dest preferred to concentrate on the team’s failure to take their chances post-match. He said: ‘I don’t know if it was a penalty. They had chances and we had chances but they were maybe a bit sharper in their finishing.’

Real Madrid were just happy to end a run of two straight defeats. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said: ‘It was not easy playing against Cadiz last weekend after the international break and conceding an early goal we could not get back into the game. We then had a hard game facing Shakhtar in Europe.

‘But here we had the intensity that the manager wanted from us. It was a bit back and forth in the second half but we got the penalty and we held out for the win.

‘We have to fight in each game when we wear this shirt. Today we did that. This is only three points but it gives us an awful lot of confidence.


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Ronald Koeman defends Pique slamming Barcelona Board

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Ronald Koeman has come to defence of Gerard Pique after the defender gave a controversial interview slamming Barcelona’s board.


On the eve of El Clasico against Real Madrid, Pique sat down with La Vanguardia to talk the future of Lionel Messi, president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the social media scandal which has seen the LaLiga club allegedly attack its own players.

Pique’s comments, particularly the ones aimed at the ‘outrageous’ board, proved agenda-setting in Spain ahead of El Clasico.

But for Koeman, the 33-year-old is ‘a clever guy’ and knows the added scrutiny he has placed on himself going into one of the biggest games of the season.

‘He’s been here a long time and I’ve been here three months,’ Koeman said. ‘He’s got his opinion and I respect that.

‘He’s a clever guy and he knows when he does these interviews that he’s got a game the next day and that he’ll play well.’

It has been a tumultuous 12 months with Barcelona now onto their third manager of 2020 having sacked two-time LaLiga winner Ernesto Valverde in January, and his successor, Quique Setien, after the 8-2 humiliation by Bayern Munich in the Champions League in August.

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But the big story of the year was Lionel Messi submitting a burofax informing the board, who he had lost faith in, that he intended to leave in the summer, a year before his contract was due for expiry.

Pique was reportedly among a gaggle of players to stay quiet in the middle of the saga but he has since spoken out on the poor handling of the situation by president Bartomeu.

Pique added: ‘As president I would have acted differently. I asked Leo to stay on.

‘I didn’t have much dealings with him those days because I thought it was a very personal decision. I only said: “Leo, it’s a year, and then new people will come.”

‘I asked myself: “How can it be that the best player in history, who we have had the incredible luck to enjoy, gets up one day and sends a burofax because he feels that they are not listening to him?” Everything is too shocking. What’s going on?

‘Leo deserves everything. The new stadium and its sponsor should have his name (on it).’

Real Madrid travel to the Nou Camp three points ahead of Barcelona in LaLiga, albeit having played a further game.

Pressure is on both managers, with Real manager Zinedine Zidane reportedly under the microscope following back-to-back defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

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In contrast Koeman will welcome back Jordi Alba for the visit of Real. The full-back picked up a hamstring injury against Sevilla at the start of the month but has returned sooner than expected to be in line to feature.

The Dutch boss will, however, be without first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and defender Samuel Umtiti.

Koeman, 57, played in 14 Clasicos while at Barcelona as a player, but admitted it was a new feeling going into it as coach.

‘Hopefully I’ll sleep alright! Of course it’s different, the best thing would be going out there on the pitch, but my playing days are behind me,’ he said.

‘So the next best thing is to be as close to the pitch as possible. We know it’s an important match but I’m used to that kind of pressure.’

The excitement for the first Clasico of the season, which is being broadcast on LaLigaTV, has seen LaLiga roll out the red carpet across the globe.

It is a game which brings immense scrutiny and Koeman will know a poor showing from Pique will see his interview come back to bite him.


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‘Nothing will stop my trust in Dembele’ – Koeman

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Koeman is putting the future of the Frenchman in the hands of the club and values Messi’s message of unity: “To be happy, you have to win games.” He confirms the signing of Dest and has faith that a number 9 can still arrive.

Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s trip to Balaídos to take on Celta Vigo on Thursday, head coach Ronald Koeman discussed several topics including Dest, Messi and signing a new striker.

What do you expect from Celta?

We expect a difficult match. They have also told me that in recent years Barça has not been able to win in Vigo. It is a complicated team, with good players. We have to be be ready for it and play our own game to win.

Messi has asked for unity. Is it the best news?

I don’t know if after Leo’s statements I’m going to have a quiet life, I don’t think so. But it is positive that the captain is asking for unity. This has always been positive. Hopefully we are going to be calmer than in recent times.

What expectations do you have for Dest?

He’s doing his medical and his contract still needs to be signed. I will not comment until he has signed. We are going to have a young side. It is a matter of changing things and having young players for the future of this club. Yes it is good because he, despite his age, has played in the Champions League and I am sure, when all the contracts are signed, that he will be good for Barça.

Is Dembélé a key player or would it be right to sell him?

This situation is in the club’s and player’s hands. As long as he is with us, I will count on him. He has not played from the beginning because there are more players and Ansu Fati has proven to be good. You have to wait for your opportunity. He has had a slump in recent weeks but today has been good and I will count on him.

What can you do to make Messi fully happy?

You have to find the best team for him, where he can shine and where he gets the most from. I have seen that he lives for football, even in training matches he does everything to win. For Leo to be happy, we have to win games.

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Are you a supporter of VAR?

In Holland and in other countries, there is controversy. On the subject of the handball especially. It’s very complicated. The referee’s job is even more complicated. I think they sometimes go too far with VAR. But at the end of the season, you will look back and see that VAR has been for and against you at several points over the year. On the offside, I agree with VAR. On the subject of handball, no. They are blowing up too much.

Are you still confident that Depay can come to Barcelona?

We have to analyse the squad, analyse what we lack. We know that financially the club has its problems, like everyone else. There are one or two positions where we need to improve. And I’m not going to lie to you. We are working. There are options but it is complicated. The club is going to work hard to make more transfers. If not, we will use our players because I have no complaints from the ones we have.

Griezmann played very little against Villarreal. Are you worried you won’t find a spot for him in the side?

It does not worry me. Antoine is doing things well. He is playing from the right, but not stuck on the wing, with freedom. He does things well and I managed a Holland-France game and he started from that position.

What is your plan for Rafinha?

For players who won’t play much, it is better for them to look for new opportunities. I know that Rafinha has been on loan and can’t continue to be on loan every season. We have a lot of midfielders, we will have to look for the best for the team.

What is more important, the signing of a striker or a center-back?

One position is not more important than the other. These are two positions in which we are a bit light. With Gerard, Lenglet and Araujo we are short. That is why we have called up Santi Ramos from Barça B.

How will Braithwaite fit in your plans?

We want to have two or three players per position. We have put Leo as a nine, Griezmann can play there, but they are different players. Martin is more than a nine and will have his chances but we want one more striker.


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Barca starts Koeman era with ‘VICTORY”

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Barcelona won 3-1 in their first pre-season match of the summer, defeating Nastic de Tarragona at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.

This was the first look at how Ronald Koeman would set his side up and he played two completely different teams, one line-up for the first half and another for the second.

Lionel Messi started in the match, fitting in to a 4-2-3-1 system that saw Sergio Busquets and Carles Alena team up in the defensive midfield positions.

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Ousmane Dembele was in the starting line-up too, returning after his long-term hamstring injury, and he scored just five minutes in as he was able to prod the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs.

Antoine Griezmann wasn’t as involved, but he did make it 2-0 by converting a penalty in the 17th minute.

After Javi Bonilla pulled one back for Nastic on the half hour mark, Barcelona restored their two-goal advantage when the alternate line-up took to the field in the second half.

Six minutes after the restart, there was another penalty and this time Philippe Coutinho scored.

Coutinho was good in that second half, while Trincao stood out for positive reasons too and Martin Braithwaite stood out for missing three chances.


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See the only two Barcelona youngstars Koeman adores

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Ronald Koeman was full of praise for Barcelona new boys Pedri and Trincao after they both played their first minutes for the club on Saturday.


The pair appeared in a 3-1 friendly win over Nastic de Tarragona, which brought some joy to the Dutchman.

“He’s a great talent,” Koeman said when asked about Pedri’s contribution.

“He’s 17 and such an important signing for our future.

“He has trained with us and has the quality to play, so we’ll see how much he can take part.

“I liked Trincao positionally, sometimes coming inside and sometimes going outside.

“He has quality and has to adapt to the speed and rhythm.

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“He’s a great signing.”

As is the norm early in pre-season, the Catalans have prioritised physical work so far.

Yet Koeman knows that they need to brush up on their tactics.

“We’ve done a lot of physical work in training,” he explained.

“We have to do more tactical work now.”

Lionel Messi got 45 minutes under his belt for the first time since his transfer saga.

“He’s shown the same spirit as in the first day,” the boss added.

“He’s training well and did the same on our day off.

“He knows that he has to improve physically, like everyone, but his quality speaks for itself.”


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‘It a new Born Barcelona now and I’m happy – Ronald Koeman

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The new Dutch head coach admitted the 4-2-3-1 formation played on Saturday night is slightly more defensive, but insists “this team can do it”. “We’re happy,” Koeman said after the 3-1 win over Nàstic.


New Barcelona boss, Ronald Koeman, spoke on Barça TV after his first game in charge of the Catalan club. Barça defeated Nàstic 3-1 in a friendly held before they open their La Liga campaign.

“The most important thing is that fortunately there have been no injuries. Everyone has played 45 minutes. There were moments of good intensity. There are always things to improve on but we’re happy. We have been here for two weeks and we have two more to go.”

New system
Regarding the system and positioning, with the double pivot, Koeman said: “It may be different and somewhat more defensive than what has been seen in recent years, but the objective is to move the ball, hold on to it and find the spaces to play between the lines, and behind rival midfielders. I think this team can do it because we have midfielders to play like that.”

Short pre-season
Koeman assured that he was interested in seeing players even though they had only been training for a few days: “It is important that they already play because it is not a normal pre-season. We only have four weeks, not six. It is complicated. What we want to do now is physical work and in the next two weeks work on the tactical side more.”


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Messi completes first training under Koeman

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Lionel Messi joined the rest of his Barcelona team-mates for training on Wednesday, which was the first time the Argentine had worked under the orders of new coach Ronald Koeman.

The Barcelona captain, who passed a PCR test before training alone on Monday and Tuesday, was joined by Philippe Coutinho, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Ansu Fati for Wednesday’s session in the rain.

The rest of the internationals, including Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet, Nelson Semedo, Francisco Trincao and Martin Braithwaite, have yet to return to training.

Barcelona are working with their sights set on their first pre-season friendly against Nastic de Tarragona on Saturday at 19:00 CEST at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.


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Coutinho to play as Attacking Midfielder for Barcelona – Koeman


Barca manager Ronald Koeman now wants to keep the Brazilian, who helped Bayern Munich smash his parent club 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-finals before going on to lift the trophy with his adopted German side.

The Catalan giants will only consider selling Coutinho if a club offers a substantial fee to take the midfielder on permanently, according to Marca.

However, given the financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, Barcelona are unlikely to receive an offer which meets their demands.

Instead, Koeman plans to utilise the former Liverpool man as a central midfielder next season, rather than playing him as winger – which Ernesto Valverde had previously done.

Coutinho’s future had previously looked bleak at Barca, as Brazilian playmaker struggled to impress since making his move to Barcelona in 2018 after leaving Liverpool in a £145m deal.

Following a lacklustre debut season at the Nou Camp, Coutinho was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich.

Despite scoring for Bayern during their 8-2 thrashing of Barca – which led to Quique Setien being sacked – the German giants turned down the opportunity to sign Coutinho permanently for £108million.

That had left the door open for potential suitors to snap the 28-year-old up, but appointment of Koeman has now changed the Brazilian’s fate.

Coutinho had previously been linked with a move to the Premier League, but he is now back in Spain training with Barcelona ahead of next season.

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Luis Suarez forced to train by Ronald Koeman

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Luis Suarez has been asked by new Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman to train on his own as he prepares to leave the LaLiga club for Juventus.

The Uruguayan forward is in talks with the Spanish club to terminate his contract, which expires in 2021, after six successful years at the Camp Nou.

According to Spanish news outlet Marca, Suarez has reportedly agreed a £9million salary with the Serie A champions in a move that would see him link-up with Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin.

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And several reports, including ESPN, have claimed that the striker is training away from the first-team group alongside Arturo Vidal and another fitness coach while his future gets resolved.

Suarez posted an image of him training with Barcelona on his Instagram story with the caption, ‘Professional’, implying that he will remain dedicated to the LaLiga club while he remains a player there.

The forward’s proposed £9million salary in Italy will see him receive a lower wage compared to what he currently earns at Barcelona, though the 33-year-old is expected to earn additional sums in bonuses and image rights payments.

The 33-year-old is the third-highest goalscorer in Barcelona’s history with 198 to his name – despite only joining the Catalans six years ago.

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Yet new boss Koeman has refused to include him in his plans for next season and is set to depart the club alongside Vidal – who has been strongly linked with a move to Inter Milan.

Suarez was reportedly told by the Dutch manager that his services are no longer required in a one-minute phone call which left the Uruguayan stunned.

The striker was also upset at the radio silence by club president Josep Maria Bartomeu over his future, with Barcelona fans already upset at their own chief over the way he has handled Lionel Messi’s transfer saga.

During his time at the Camp Nou, Suarez has won four LaLiga titles, four Spanish Cups along with the Champions League and Club World Cup titles in 2015. He originally joined the Catalans for a £65million from Liverpool in 2014.

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Messi’s departure will benefit Koeman greatly

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Former Egyptian player Mido, who currently works as a football analyst and has his own TV show, believes that Messi leaving Barça will be in the new manager’s interests.

Former Egyptian player Ahmed Hossam Mido, who played for several European clubs including Ajax Amsterdam where he was coached by Barca’s new manager Ronald Koeman, said on his show that Koeman will be the one benefiting if it is the case that Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona.

Mido explained: “Koeman is one of the best coaches I have trained with and he has a very strong character, but he is going to face many difficulties if Messi stays.”

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Koeman doesn’t want players with strong characters
“The best thing that could happen to Koeman is the potential departure of Messi. Koeman won’t be able to build his empire with Messi existing in the dressing room.

“Koeman was my coach for two and a half years and no matter how much time goes by, he is still unable to handle players with strong characters and he doesn’t want a player who has an opinion”, he added.

Many reports have claimed lately that Messi’s time at Barcelona is over, with the Argentine informing Barça’s board of his desire to leave Camp Nou.

Mido also mentioned that during his time at Ajax Keoman had so many problems with him as well as with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, he gave the Dutchman some credit by admitting that he is the most suitable option for the Catalans currently since he has Barça’s DNA.

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Shocking: Pellegrini blasts Koeman

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New Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has been slammed by Manuel Pellegrini for the way he went about axing Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan striker was told by Koeman that he does not feature in his plans earlier this week and will be moved on.

Pellegrini, who has managed at Real Madrid and Manchester City during his career, believes Koeman showed a lack of respect to Suarez by informing him over the phone.

‘Personally, it does not seem correct,’ the current Real Betis boss told ESPN.

‘One, as a coach, must have the conviction and the frontality to speak face to face with the player and tell him that he will not continue to play.

‘I have had to do it many times and it hurts, but doing it by phone seems to me a lack of respect towards the coaches and the players.’

Suarez, now 33, spoke out for the first time since being cast aside by Koeman, writing on Instagram: ‘There are people using my name and saying things about me, people that I’ve had nothing to do with in years.

‘I’ll speak for myself when that time comes about.’

The former Liverpool forward, who scored 21 times last campaign, has been linked with moves to MLS side Inter Miami and former club Ajax this summer.

He was one of four players to be informed by Koeman that their futures at the club are over as the new boss continues his cull following their humiliating 8-2 Champions League humiliation against Bayern Munich.

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Suarez could be joined out of the door by Lionel Messi, who is pushing for a free move to Manchester City to reunite with former boss Pep Guardiola.

The duo were spotted leaving a restaurant together on Wednesday night for the first time since the Argentine handed in a transfer request via fax.

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu is said to have offered to step down from his role in a bid to change Messi’s mind about leaving, but the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has reportedly ignored his calls for face-to-face talks.

City want to sign Messi but it remains unclear whether or not the Argentina star can leave for free or if Barcelona would need to first accept an offer.

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‘I suspect Bartomeu and Koeman despises Messi’ – Laporta

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Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta believes that the club are trying to usher Lionel Messi towards the exit door.

Despite Josep Maria Bartomeu and Ronald Koeman both stating publicly that they want the Argentine to stay, Laporta doesn’t buy it.

“This makes me suspect that they want to sell Messi, which would be a historic mistake,” he said on social media.

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“Poor Barcelona in hands of these incompetents.”

Laporta is also not happy with the way in which Suarez, the third highest scorer in Barcelona’s history, has been treated.

“Did you tell Suarez that he’s not in your plans over the phone?” he wrote.

“I think it’s an act of cowardice on the part of the president [Bartomeu] and a lack of respect for the player.

“This way of acting is disgraceful and damages the image of the club.”

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What Koeman said to infuriate Messi

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As the days have progressed since Ronald Koeman’s rather heavily publicised conversation with Lionel Messi, it has emerged that Barcelona fans have every reason to be worried about the Argentine leaving, however the Dutch coach is rumoured to have said something in particular which irked the iconic forward.

Whilst this was more a case of a new coach touching base with his captain rather than any sort of exit-talk summit, the results have been revealing.

According to Deportes Cuatro, it was a meeting of incredible tension and Messi himself was left surprised by the stance the former Southampton coach took.

There was one particular phrase the report has cited which is said to have left Messi somewhat furious.

“The privileges in this squad are over, you have to do everything for the team,” Koeman reportedly declared.

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“I’m going to be inflexible; you must only be thinking about the team.”

It was such a show of authoritarianism that Messi took exception to, especially with his relationships with coaches at Barcelona having generally not been that way throughout his career.

What has followed is even further disruption to the idea that Messi will sign a contract extension at the Camp Nou, with several of his close friends and team-mates being told they can leave.

Luis Suarez is the most significant, with the relationship between the two South American forwards known to be extremely good, however he is also likely to be irked by the same message being given to Arturo Vidal.

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Koeman tells 4 Barcelona players to leave

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Ronald Koeman has reportedly told four of Barcelona’s most well-known players that they have no future at the club.

It had emerged on Monday that the new Barca boss had informed Luis Suarez that he needed to find a new club this summer, with his contract potentially set to be terminated, and now it is claimed that three other first-team stars are also facing the same fate.

Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti are now all said to be on the market after Koeman informed them that they will not be part of his plans.

The Guardian report that Vidal, Rakitic and Umtiti all received similar phone calls to the one that Koeman delivered to Suarez, in which it was spelled out that they needed to find new clubs and could perhaps even have their contracts terminated.

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Between them, the quartet have made 805 appearances for Barca, however all but Umtiti are now either 32 or 33.

The French World Cup winning centre-back is just 26, and could raise a significant amount of money in the transfer market were Barca to find a buyer.

Koeman’s ruthlessness hasn’t extended to other names who were perceived to be on the way out of the club though.

The former Southampton and Everton boss is prepared to give Philippe Coutinho another chance in Catalonia as he returns from his loan spell at new European champions Bayern Munich.

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Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets are also set to be retained despite suggestions that they could be on the way out.

Koeman is still desperate to keep Lionel Messi despite claims that the club captain is unhappy.

“He’s still got a contract and is still a Barcelona player. At this point I need to speak to him because he is the captain,” said the Dutchman said at his Barca unveiling.

“We need to work with him and speak with various players. We need to make some decisions but in Messi’s case I hope he stays with us.”

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Koeman Informs Suarez he’s not needed at Camp Nou

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Barcelona, via Ronald Koeman, informed Luis Suarez on Monday morning that he is no longer in their plans. Our fellow journalists at RAC1 have reported this story. The Uruguayan must find a team in the coming hours, whilst there will be a meeting between representatives of the Blaugrana and agents and lawyers of the player to study the possible conditions for his departure, given the fact he is still under contract. The club needs money, but they will make things very easy because they want to save his high salary. The former Liverpool striker’s career at the Camp Nou has come to an end.

The departure of the Uruguayan international will not be the only one, with there many players who have not yet spoken with the club or the new coach but will do so in the coming hours. Suarez, despite being one of the most important, not only for his footballing contributions and his stature in the dressing room, is an interesting case as one begins to wonder what his goodbye implies for Lionel Messi’s own future.

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The Argentine was not sure whether to continue with the Catalan club after the 2019/20 season fiasco and the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich. He has doubts, very serious ones, and clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Inter are on the prowl. At Barcelona they are a bit uneasy about this uncertainty, although they are confident that Messi will stay. However, the departure of Luis Suarez could complicate matters in that regard. What used to be a mere fear of a departure is now a very real concern for Barcelona at losing the symbol of the modern-day club. Barcelona know Suarez’s exit will impact Messi, but they aren’t sure how much.

Suarez is one of Messi’s closest friends on and off the pitch, although the La Masia graduate is a professional and knows this is how football works. For the first time a change of scenery is planned, and the exit of Luis Suarez doesn’t seem like the best strategy to try and tempt Messi to stay.

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Koeman tells Vidal to search for a new team

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Ronald Koeman wants a large part of his Barcelona squad for the 2020/21 campaign to be in place by the time training restarts next week, and that has led to the coach informing Luis Suarez and, now, Arturo Vidal that they are not in his plans.

As such, the Uruguayan and Chilean have been told to look for a new team immediately.

Over the coming hours, Koeman will speak to the rest of the dressing room. He has many more players to contact.

Barcelona announced that there would be profound changes in the dressing room, which is proving to already be the case.

Both Suarez and Vidal have received offers from other teams, although they could be used as part of swap deals this summer.

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Other Barcelona players who Koeman does not have in his plans are Ivan Rakitic, Samuel Umtiti and Junior Firpo.

They know that the Dutch coach and the club are happy to move on from them in this transfer window, but they are also waiting for a call from Koeman.

Meanwhile, the likes of Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Gerard Pique are all waiting to see what their new coach has to say to them; they are aware that almost the entire squad is up for sale, but nobody has told them anything yet.

These three players’ continuity at the Camp Nou is not frowned upon by Koeman, while Jordi Alba knows that he will still be a Barcelona player next season.

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