Advertisement
Thursday, Jul 07, 2022
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Barcelona Legend Xavi The Favourite To Replace Ronald Koeman At Camp Nou

Barcelona announced Ronald Koeman's firing shortly after the team's 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, less than three months after Lionel Messi's departure.

Barcelona Legend Xavi The Favourite To Replace Ronald Koeman At Camp Nou
Xavi Hernandez, who for years has been linked to a return to the club, appears to be the leading candidate. But the 41-year-old would have to free himself from his job coaching Qatari club Al Sadd. | Coutesry: Twitter/Al Sadd
Barcelona Legend Xavi The Favourite To Replace Ronald Koeman At Camp Nou
outlookindia.com
2021-10-28T15:39:32+05:30

With its coffers depleted and a critical Champions League match right around the corner, Barcelona was looking for a new coach on Thursday after Ronald Koeman suffered one too many painful losses. (More Football News)

Former midfielder Xavi Hernández, who for years has been linked to a return to the club he helped lift to its greatest heights as a player, appears to be the leading candidate. First, however, the 41-year-old Xavi would have to free himself from his job coaching Qatari club Al Sadd.

An immediate and possibly short-term solution could be for Barcelona to promote either reserve team coach Sergi Barjuán or Albert Capellas, director of its youth teams, to lead the squad for Saturday's Spanish league match against Alavés.

Three days later, Barcelona faces a trip to Ukraine to play Dynamo Kyiv in a match it will need to win to boost its chances of continuing its two-decade long run of reaching the Champions League knockout rounds.

Koeman had justified defeats to Bayern Munich, Benfica, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid this season by arguing that his team was simply no longer among Europe's elite after its financial troubles forced it to shed the wages of Lionel Messi and other top talents. He also insisted that injuries among his attacking players had limited its effectiveness.

Less than a month ago, club president Joan Laporta had publicly backed Koeman, asking fans to be patient as the team undergoes a rebuilding project.

But Koeman's credit ran out after Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at Rayo Vallecano, a modest rival that had not beaten Barcelona since 2002. Barcelona, the dominant Spanish league team over the past two decades, is in ninth place in the standings.

Koeman, a former Barcelona defender, took over Barcelona when its economic crisis was just being felt following a devastating 8-2 loss to Bayern at the end of the 2019-20 season that cost predecessor Quique Setién his job.

The 58-year-old Dutch coach led Barcelona to last season's Copa del Rey title, but it exited the Champions League in the round-of-16 and finished the Spanish league in third place.

Koeman did, however, set the foundation of a rejuvenated Barcelona by bringing youngsters Pedri González, Gavi Páez, Ronald Araújo and Óscar Mingueza into his starting lineup and making Ansu Fati one of the team's leaders along with veterans Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba.

But its trouble scoring — one goal in three Champions League matches — and its inability to respond to adversity once behind showed that Koeman's team was not performing up its potential.

“We showed that we had talent, but it wasn't enough,” Koeman said hours before he was let go.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.

Advertisement