Friday, May 27

Koeman’s Cup

  • The coach has been the architect of the reconstruction that has made Barça travel from the scorn of Lisbon to the title with Athletic

  • He received an affectionate kiss from the president as soon as he won the trophy on the lawn of the La Cartuja stadium

  • Laporta’s concern is to ensure the continuity of Messi, who continues to be the owner of his future

  • Koeman always remembers that he has one year left on his contract and that his mission at the Camp Nou has not concluded

He waited patiently. Joan Laporta was not in a hurry. The president waited for the opportune moment to approach the exultant and happy Ronald Koeman who was watching with relief on the lawn of La Cartuja the outcome of the work that he has built with care for eight interminable months. Laporta arrived and gave the technician an affectionate kiss, in addition to whispering in his right ear. Then, in public, the manager was not so forceful about the future of the Dutchman, the architect of the express reconstruction of Barça.

Laporta is concerned that Messi will find arguments to send the burofax that he disclosed last August to the bin and feels that there is not only a future at the Camp Nou but also a present, just now when he is about to turn 34 and faces to a vital decision. First Leo, the sole owner of his destiny, thinks Laporta; then Ronald, who has one year left on his contract.

Koeman, who has had three presidents in eight months (Bartomeu signed him in August after 2-8 in Lisbon, lived with Tusquets, the head of the Management Commission from October to March, and now has Laporta as head), the club had to endure in the middle of a wasteland.

He supported the shed in a delicate reconstruction process that has ended up leading to the conquest of the Copa del Rey, the least of the titles. And the most valuable, at the same time, in times of misery and deep European depression where Rome-2018 seemed serious, but did not reach the dramatic tone of Anfield-2019 or as shamefully ridiculous as Lisbon-2020, a summary of the decadence, without forgetting the fall of Paris-2021,

Pragmatic and flexible

“Joy has returned,” proclaimed a proud Laporta, after singing happily in the La Cartuja dressing room, hugging all the players non-stop, especially Messi. Both in the box, before the star picked up his first Copa del Rey with the captain’s armband as he did later in the Sevillian dressing room. Far from the devastating ruin Koeman picked up after 2-8. It took him four months to get Leo out of the sports mourning caused by the burofax, tired as he was of Bartomeu cheating on him.

The coach connected with Messi, who looked into his eyes and told him things clearly from the first moment they met at the star’s home in Castelldefels. He gave Koeman samples after his pragmatism and tactical flexibility (he cornered 4-2-3-1, his initial bedside book, explored 4-3-3 and settled on 3-5-2, so countercultural and reviled in the Barça universe as cash), opened the door of La Masia wide, fleeing from populism and knew how to harmonize the different souls that lived together in the changing room of the sports city of San Joan Despí.

He recovered sacred cows like Busquets Y Jordi Alba, appealing to the commitment of Pique, despite the fact that he suffered two serious knee injuries that has had him more time in the infirmary than on the grass and the team went back to training. The squad had legs and energy to endure extensions because the necessary routine of daily work had been recovered.

The new president has not been as radical in football as in basketball, in which he fired Nacho Rodríguez to place Navarro as the new manager

He ran into the greats, the great defect of Koeman’s Barça, but he found the right rebellion to survive in a Cup where he was more outside than inside, but he held on to the last thread of life (Granada and Seville were acts of faith) before signing a perfect final where the three souls (veterans who are out, young people like Pedri who make Messi smile and signings, with De Jong, the total player, symbol of change) merged in a round night. It was the easiest game.

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Waiting for the structure

It may interest you

The Cup supports the work of Koeman, forced to reconnect a Barça in the process of decomposition, and gives Laporta time. Time to articulate your sports project, which you have not yet presented, weighs to Mateo Alemany He is already serving as football director -it is he who meets with Koeman- and the arrival of Jordi Cruyff, future technical secretary.

Laporta is not as radical as in basketball where he fired manager Nacho Rodríguez this week and placed the ‘Bomba’ Navarro. Nor does Laporta want to be impulsive “in the first of a new era”, as read on the shirt of the Cup champions to celebrate the title.

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