Ronald Koeman will be the new coach of FC Barcelona next season, the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has announced.
Despite many calls to step down from Barça fans, Bartomeu will remain as the club’s president at least until March 2021, when elections will be held.
During an interview with Barça TV+ on Tuesday, Bartomeu said, ‘If nothing takes a wrong turn, Koeman will be Barça coach for next season. We know him and how he thinks and also his experience. He knows the Barça philosophy well and believes in the Barça style and for that reason he is the one chosen.’
Bartomeu said that, ‘In December, Koeman told us he had a responsibility to the Dutch national team just a few months before Euro 2020. The situation has now changed and it has been a dream for him for many years.’
The Barça president also said that, ‘We have spoken about signings with Koeman but the arrival of new players depends on others leaving.’
With regards key star Lionel Messi, Bartomeu stressed that the player ‘has said many times that he wants to finish his career at Barça. Koeman has also said to us that Messi in the pillar of his project.’
‘Messi has a contract until 2021,’ said Bartomeu. ‘I talk to the player and his father regularly. I have no doubt, despite the disappointment of Lisbon [8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich], that he will be excited by the new project. Messi is still the best player in the world and we have him with us.’
‘I have not spoken to Messi but I have spoke to his father,’ explained Bartomeu. ‘The pain is behind us. We have to be optimistic and we have to pick ourselves up, work hard and excite everyone. A cycle is coming to an end and another one starts – but in the Messi era.’
The appointment of Koeman for next season comes after Quique Setién was sacked after last Friday’s historic 8-2 defeat in the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Setién took over in January following the sacking of two-time La Liga winner Ernesto Valverde. But the team struggled for consistency under Setién and fell from the top of the league table to second after the restart of the competition.
During his seven months in charge, Setién coached the first team in 25 matches: 19 in the league, three in the Champions League and three in the Copa del Rey. There were 16 wins, four draws and five defeats.
‘We have to thank Setién for his efforts,’ said Bartomeu. ‘Coming in half way through the season, it’s not easy at a club like Barça. Lockdown did not help. Coming back after the pandemic, it was difficult to pick up the pace the team had before.’
Ronald Koeman, current coach of the Dutch national team, was a member of Johan Cruyff’s hugely successful side, known as the ‘Dream Team’, and scored the only goal of the game against Sampdoria in the 1992 European Cup final. He has previously coached Ajax, Benfica, PSV, Valencia, Southampton and Everton.
The new season of La Liga is scheduled to start again on 12 September.