Barca fire Koeman

October 27, 2021
Barcelona’s head coach Ronald Koeman heads back down the tunnel at half-time during the Spanish La Liga soccer match against Rayo Vallecano at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid, Spain, yesterday.
Barcelona’s head coach Ronald Koeman heads back down the tunnel at half-time during the Spanish La Liga soccer match against Rayo Vallecano at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid, Spain, yesterday.

MADRID (AP):

After another poor performance and yet another loss, Ronald Koeman couldn't hang on any longer as Barcelona coach.

It took less than three months after Lionel Messi's departure for Koeman to finally succumb as the pressure kept increasing and the Catalan club's struggles continued.

Barcelona announced Koeman's firing shortly after the team's 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish league yesterday.

The loss followed a 2-1 home loss to arch-rivals Real Madrid in the "clasico" at the Camp Nou Stadium on Sunday.

Koeman had said in a post-match interview yesterday he "didn't know" if his future with the club was at risk. He soon found out. Club president Joan Laporta informed the Dutch coach of his decision after the loss.

Captain Sergio Busquets had said Koeman should not be the only one to blame for the team's poor performances.

"We are all on the same boat," the midfielder said after the match, before the decision on Koeman was announced.

Koeman has been under constant pressure after a poor start to the team's first season without Messi in nearly two decades. The Argentina star joined Paris Saint-Germain in August.

Barcelona said Koeman "will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday".

Koeman leaves with the club in ninth place in the Spanish league standings with 15 points from 10 matches.

Among the team's five losses this season were 3-0 results in the Champions League against Bayern Munich at home and at Benfica.

The loss to Rayo marked the team's fifth away match without a win, something that had not happened to the club in nearly two decades.

Barcelona won five matches and drew three this season under the Dutch coach who took over shortly after the team's embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern in the Champions League last year. His only title with the Catalan club was last season's Copa del Rey.

In total, Koeman coached Barcelona in 67 matches in his 15 months in charge, with 39 wins, 16 losses and 12 draws.

Barcelona finished third last season in the Spanish league and were eliminated by PSG in the quarter-finals of the Champions league.

A replacement for Koeman was not immediately announced, but Spanish media reported former player Xavi Hernandez was the front-runner to take over.

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