Patience is running low around Barcelona when it comes to their manager Ronald Koeman, especially after yet another humiliation at the European stage with their 3-0 defeat in Lisbon against Benfica. Koeman admitted after the defeat that his position at the club is in a delicate position and is unsure whether he has the backing of the board.
Rift Between Board And Koeman
The current Barcelona President, Joan Laporta has never been a fan of the Dutch coach and he even tried finding a replacement in the summer but nothing seemed to work out. The relationship between the manager and the President is fractured, to say the least. With back-to-back defeats in the Champions League, it may propel Laporta to pull the plug on this relation.
Ronald Koeman’s unusual press conference ahead of the La Liga match against Cadiz took everyone by surprise. Koeman didn’t answer any questions by the press, rather read out a statement. His main intention was to ask the fans to show some faith and patience with respect to the young players coming through the system and lower their expectations in the Champions League.
Koeman believes that the current situation of the club is a by-product of the financial distress the club is in currently and in their first year without their cult hero, Lionel Messi, it was always going to be a tough phase.
Laporta, on the other hand, is of a different perspective when it comes to the results the club is seeing. He believes that this is a defeatist mentality by the manager and the fans have the right to expect better.
Champions League Disappointment
Barcelona came into the match against Benfica in the Champions League on the back of a morale-boosting victory against Levante in the La Liga. But whatever momentum they tried building, soon went away after a disastrous performance in the Champions League. This defeat also puts their hopes of qualifying to the next round in jeopardy, something that would be considered unacceptable by the Catalan faithful.
What’s Next On The Plate?
So what is the next appropriate step that should be taken by this club? Just accepting the current situation seems a step too low for a club as big as Barcelona. There is no getting away from the financial mess the club is in currently so if they were to sack Koeman immediately, that will cause plenty of cash outflow just to get rid of a manager. There aren’t many top-class managers out there either who are ready to get their hands dirty in this mess.
Club legend, Xavi Hernandez seems to be the best bet out there. Growing up through the La Masia system, Xavi is a person who knows the club inside out. He is currently the manager of the Qatari side Al-Sadd and has done reasonably well in the two years he has been there. There is no doubt that the jump up to managing Barcelona would be too big a step for Xavi who is pretty new to the managerial world, but it seems like the right move to do given the situation the club finds itself in. There would be plenty of on the job learning for the Spanish legend but the fans would be way more patient seeing one of their own leading them from the sidelines.
There are plenty of young players coming through the academy system and they could flourish as well under the leadership of Xavi given he took a similar road map to success as these young kids. If Xavi decides that this is a step too soon for him in his career, then Barcelona seem to have no other choice but stick with Ronald Koeman till the end of the season and revisit this situation at the end of the season.