Sunday, October 24

Koeman’s spirit

  • The coach has revived Barça with his vitalist message in a club without any government

  • Players appreciate the work you’ve done to rebuild the team

  • It has connected the ‘old guard’ with a gang of young people who excite

  • He has isolated himself from the electoral noise, waiting to be able to speak with the new president

At the end of the game, with the ticket for the final of the Copa del Rey in hand, and while Messi went to the locker room he discovered the figure of a smiling Ronald Koeman, at the foot of the bench. The captain stopped and melted into a heartfelt and emotional hug with his coach. Piqué, next to Leo, was patiently waiting for his turn to come.

First he received the heartfelt hug from Messi. Then it was Piqué who came to hug Koeman after putting Barça in the Cup final

The center-back also wanted to merge into another long and endless hug with the coach, who had just lived the most magical and, at the same time, quieter night, orphaned of the support of thousands of Catalans, since he arrived in August to start walking in in the middle of the 2-8 Lisbon ruins.

“We have never doubted Koeman, he has always stood up to the players and is doing a great job”

Jordi Alba

The body language projected by both holy cows actually symbolized the direct and authentic connection to Koeman. A direct guy, whose message is just as transparent in the dressing room as in the press room, becoming the only visible face that gives a credible voice and authority to the story of Barça, a club that has been without a president for more than four months.

“We have never doubted Koeman, he has always been face to face with the players and he is doing a great job,” proclaimed Jordi Alba, another of the players from whom he is extracting his best version.

The culture of effort restored

It is the spirit of Koeman. It is the spirit of Wembley-92 that crosses the door of the sports city of Sant Joan Despí every day, where it has restored the culture of effort, taking traumatic measures that affect world stars equally (Griezmann, Dembélé in their day) as young people until now anonymous (Pedri, Araujo, Ilaix, Mingueza...) that proudly appear to the elite.

There was a fight in the dressing room tunnel at the end of the game between the Sevilla players, including Monchi, with Messi and other Barça players

First it was the hugs in front of the cameras; later, the quarrel in the privacy of the dressing room tunnel between players from both teams, which certified, now without third-party witnesses, the link that Koeman has woven with a squad of which he is not the author. The Sevilla footballers were outraged by the referee’s performance, first blaspheming for the penalty not called to Lenglet and then for the expulsion of Mingueza that was not given.

The coach has managed to connect the ‘old guard’ with a gang of teenagers who inject energy and joy into a depressing club

But, as SER Catalunya revealed this Thursday, the tone of the accusations increased when Monchi, the sports director of the Andalusian club, appeared in the bowels of the Camp Nou after accusing Koeman last Saturday at the Sánchez Pizjuán. The azulgranas, with Messi up front, accompanied by Pepe Costa, head of the Barça player service office, they reproached Monchi for those words in a tense verbal crossover.

After waiting almost two decades to sit on the bench at Camp Nou, Koeman does not want to move from there. You know that your endorsement is not the year of the contract you have left but your job

But the commitment is seen, above all, on the grass, where Koeman has connected to the old guard (the 3-5-2 with which he has innovated covers Busquets, gives flight to Jordi Alba and has the “leader” in Piqué , as Koeman said, in addition to making Messi smile) with that gang of teenagers who inject energy into a team in need of finding the light.

Waiting for the new boss

Although it is a small halo like the one he found in the Cup where the spirit of the coach is portrayed, who has waited almost 20 years (it was Laporta’s first option in 2003) to sit on the bench at the Camp Nou. And he does not want to move from there, no matter how much electoral noise he has experienced.

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On Monday Koeman will meet his new boss. At last he will have someone to talk to about Barça and, of course, decide. He has been without a president for more time (it is already 130 days) than with Bartomeu, the leader who signed him. They barely cohabited for 70 days. Meanwhile, the coach has lit the inner fire in a locker room shaken by so much defeat that he felt very emotionally vulnerable, even above the tactical or footballing aspects.

It is not by chance that he has transmitted his spirit to an indolent Barça, who did not have a soul or legs to survive. Just look at the Cup, where he has survived three overtimes scoring goals in the last breath, proof of his rebellion.

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