Three days after the stinging setback at Camp Nou during the Liga clasico against eternal rival Real Madrid (2-1), the 1-0 defeat on the ground of a promoted, Rayo Vallecano, was the failure too many.
Heckled by supporters on Sunday when he left the stadium, the Dutch technician had yet received the support of his club, just like in September, when President Joan Laporta appeared in front of the media to say that Barça still relied on the ex- Netherlands coach.
But the management of the Catalan institution made a decision shortly after midnight, despite the cost of this decision: between 12 and 14 million euros according to the press, for a club that is already drowning in a debt that exceeds one billion euros to long term.
“Dismissed”, agreed Ace and Sport in their Thursday edition, with a large photo of the technician looking crestfallen. “KOeman”, boxed the Catalan newspaper L’Esportiu, while the Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo announces “Xavi for Koeman”.
– Site too huge –
Koeman, 58, paid for his side’s poor results: Barca have been unable to win an away game since the start of the season, haven’t scored a goal away from Camp Nou since August and point to a disappointing 9th place in Liga.
And above all, the Catalan club has chained the disappointments in the Champions League, where he suffered two slaps, first against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou (3-0), then in Lisbon against Benfica (3-0), which ended up jeopardizing his chances of qualifying in the round of 16, which would be a huge and new blow.
Was the site too huge for the former Blaugrana player, who offered his first C1 title to Barça in 1992 against Sampdoria on a free kick?
Optimistic, Koeman had accepted the challenge, seeing it as a challenge to take up, in the right line of Johan Cruyff, his former compatriot of coach at Barça, who ended up acquiring the status of legend.
Hired in the summer of 2020 to replace Quique Setién to straighten out an already adrift Barça, Koeman finally experienced only failure, or almost. At the head of Barça, he only won a Spanish Cup last season.
Apart from this trophy, Koeman will have been the coach who lived the exile of the icon Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain and the departures of Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann at Atlético Madrid, then went through a year without the prodigy Ansu Fati, away from the field for a year after a fracture of the meniscus of the left knee in November 2020.
– Xavi, the good timing? –
The Catalan club announced early Thursday afternoon that Sergi Barjuan, the coach of the reserve team, will act “until the signing of a contract with a new coach”.
A few names had been put forward in the press in September, when the Dutchman had already come close to dismissal.
On the front line: Xavi Hernandez. The former Camp Nou glory, now on the bench of Al Sadd in Qatar, has repeatedly claimed he is ready to accept a coaching position at Barca, and appears to be the favorite candidate to take over , although he supported a different list than President Laporta’s in the election for the club’s presidency in March.
But other names have also been cited by the press, like the Italian Andrea Pirlo, free since his ouster from Juventus Turin at the end of May, the Spanish coach of Belgium Roberto Martinez, or the Dutch Erik ten Hag and Argentinian Marcelo Gallardo.
According to the press, the club could wait until the next international window which begins on November 7, before presenting the one who will have the heavy task of trying to put Barça back at the top of Spanish and European football.