The coach’s desire has been stronger than the president’s doubts and Ronald Koeman will continue to occupy the Camp Nou bench. The technical market did not offer many alternatives and Joan Laporta has chosen to confirm the coach after a period of reflection in which he has drawn up an instruction manual for the 1992 Wembley hero. Barcelona must be an uncomplexed and offensive football team It is convenient for the players to win titles because defeat will penalize or, if you like, have serious consequences so that it is seen that there is a before and after the return of Joan Laporta to the presidency of Barcelona. Koeman’s wait has not been in vain, but he is rewarded with a contract that ends on June 30, 2022.
It is not yet known which was Laporta’s preferred coach. The president has played with the position since he appeared in the elections and never ratified Koeman until the full board of directors held this Thursday at the Camp Nou. In the absence of Johan Cruyff and renewed Pep Guardiola by Manchester City, Laporta has metabolized the style book of the cruyffism -reflected with the incorporation of Jordi Cruyff to the sports area- and has not found a coach capable of putting it into practice other than Koeman. There is no alternative and, in addition, the settlement of the Dutchman supposed a bill of about 13.5 million euros in addition to the compensation of five million to pay to the Federation of the Netherlands. Koeman demanded a two-year agreement from former president Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign from his country’s national team on the eve of the European Championship. So Laporta made the decision. “After this period of reflection that we have taken with Koeman, I want to announce that we have agreed that we will continue the contract that is in force. We are very satisfied that the talks on unifying the criteria for next season have borne fruit, “the president resolved this Thursday, after the board meeting.
Although he has felt belittled by the board, Koeman aspires to win over the dressing room and Barcelona, proud and convinced as he is that he will connect with the fans when he goes to the Camp Nou. Ensuring continuity has meant a lot of wear and tear for a coach who is weak right now against the players that Leo Messi captains. Koeman understands, however, that his determination, ambition and pride will allow him to overcome the situation and defend the work of last season in which, with no other signing than Dest’s, he won the Cup, opted for the quarry and changed Messi’s spirit, the philosopher’s stone of the Laporta project. The next step for the Barcelona council is the renewal of the 10 and the renewal of the staff in the line undertaken last year with the departures of Luis Suárez, Rakitic and Arturo Vidal.
The critical economic situation will prevent Laporta from firing the players he would like by the same rule of three that he has had to resign himself to Koeman following. The president’s message was clear: “A cycle is over after losing the League in an incomprehensible way.” The collapse of the team after falling with Granada at the Camp Nou on the day they aspired to be the leader and the absenteeism of the players, as well as the contemplative attitude of the coach, irritated the president so much that he wanted to do without Koeman. Although he had never been their favorite coach, his disappointment increased after the matches against Levante and Celta. Even the Dutch coach, who on the last day pointed out to the squad for not being up to the club, went so far as to affirm that there were better coaches than him for Barça.
The two parties have ended up coinciding after being at opposite poles: Koeman demanded “absolute confidence” and Laporta a winning team in the League with aspirations in the Champions League. The feeling is that both are given time without knowing very well if you can turn the page and change the dynamics with the same coach sitting on the bench at Camp Nou. The president’s message, in any case, has been increasingly favorable to the Dutch coach as the talks have increased: “The dialogue is going very well, don’t rule it out,” he began by saying; “A period of reflection has been opened to unify criteria that has been very good,” he added later; “I feel very comfortable with the coach,” concluded Laporta, after ruling out options such as Xavi Hernández.
The president has finally yielded and the coach has even accepted to review his contract financially to adapt it to the needs of Barça. It has been necessary to lower the fixed rate again, increase the variables and update the deferred payments after the record of about eight million signed with Josep Maria Bartomeu. Koeman has been able to win more than money and treatment in his obsession to succeed again at Barça. Same as Laporta. At the end of the day, both are united by the desire to show that they have a winning gene, even from precariousness and vulnerability, after having been the protagonists of two of the best times of FC Barcelona. The difference is that now Johan Cruyff is gone.