He has been at a club for half a year without leadership, without a project or a euro, pending the uncertain future of Messi
The coach has spent more days without a president (115) than with Bartomeu (70), the leader who signed him
He proclaims himself realistic, asks for time and patience, something that does not exist in an uninhabited Camp Nou
Punished by injuries in the essential areas of his team, he turned, already definitively, towards 4-3-3
He does not beat the big teams and looks into the abyss in the Champions League after the 1-4 of Paris SG
Not even after Paris SG’s 1-4 did he change his plans. Ronald Koeman kept the squad two days of festivities, “dejected and sunk” by that win, as Piqué confessed to Laporta, aware as he is of what he has in hand. You know where it came from. And, above all, when it came.
He arrived just six months ago at a Barça collapsed by Bayern’s 2-8 in Lisbon and hours after being presented his first job was to go to the home of Leo Messi, which was more outside than inside, as later certified by sending the burofax to leave. Half a year later, the club is still much worse off than before the arrival of the Wembley hero.
It does not have a president because the elections, which were to take place on January 24, were set for March 7 and there is not a single euro in the box, turning Europe into a torture that drowns the players. And it devours a tremendously weakened institution in which its last two presidents (Sandro Rosell Y Josep Maria Bartomeu) have resigned before the end of their terms.
“I know where I am!” Koeman shouted, after conceding the Champions League win that returned the team to Paris, Turin, Rome, Liverpool and Lisbon, unable to shed those traumas from the past, entangled as it has been for more than a lustrum in the fatalism of other times.
“I know what we have to change! We are trying,” says Koeman
“We are in the middle of the road,” the coach later proclaimed, although without knowing if he will have the option of finishing that path that he started on August 19 last. “I know where I am! I know what we have to change! We are trying,” he added. It is not known, however, if that path will eventually lead anywhere. Barça is disoriented, drowned by a very serious economic crisis because it received 222 million euros for Neymar and then spent 400 on Dembélé, Coutinho Y Griezmann.
Money that is in the field, but does not decide as expected, overshadowed, for example, both French forwards by a majestic and huge Mbappé. All pending, and Koeman the first, that Messi’s magic is so infinite that it survives the passage of time in a team that has been aging badly, also tormented by the memory of the enormous work he built in the past .
Signed in a desperate attempt to regenerate the squad after the chaotic dismissal of Valverde and the failed replacement by Setién takes longer Koeman on the bench without a president (115) than with Bartholomew (70), portrait of the instability that shakes Barça. Without knowing yet if Messi will leave, as he intended last summer, or the future new leader will have the capacity (and money) to persuade him to finish his career at the lonely Camp Nou, sheltering some young people (Ansu fati, Pedri Y Araujo) that are exciting, although they need what Barça never had: patience. And without a directive leadership in the club, even worse because the feeling of orphanhood spreads through all corners of the old and now uninhabited stadium.
“I am realistic, it seems that more than the others,” proclaims the coach, who started badly, clinging to the initial idea of 4-2-3-1, his reference tactical model, although later he modified it until it was anchored in the Bible culé of 4-3-3 emitting signals of certain energy in a team punished by injuries in its most essential area (Ansu, Piqué, Sergi Roberto, Coutinho, Araujo, even the League started without Ter Stegen).
The team crashes against the big rivals (Madrid, Atlético, Juventus, Paris SG …) without yet learning from their mistakes
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A stubborn Barça always crashing in the face of great obstacles, unable to learn from their mistakes: Madrid (1-3), Atlético (1-0), Juventus (0-3), the lost title of the Spanish Super Cup with Athletic (2-3), Sevilla (2-0) and Paris Sg (1-4). Falls that endorse that feeling of inferiority, without forgetting the setbacks in Getafe (1-0) and Cádiz (2-1), which led the team to the edge of the abyss.
There is right now Barça in the Champions League, one more year, while Koeman defends realism, ready to still fight for the Cup (he would have to overcome the two goals of Sánchez Pizjuán) without giving up the League (he has Atlético at nine points). Realism in a club that destroyed itself.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.