Rocked in the 3-5-2 that gave him such a good result to compete for a League that they gave up for lost, Koeman did not change his roadmap or the eleven in almost no match, so rivals got the hang of it. The players were discouraged after falling to Granada and losing the opportunity to become leaders with four stakes ahead, the coach was not corrected with the changes during the duels, the team blurred in many second parts and especially at the Camp Nou, as it turns out that Barça is no longer a reliable team at home but their pulse quickens and their foot shrinks when they must demonstrate their authority in Can Barça, condemnation that has definitively distanced him from the league title. He has only added 38 points of the possible 57 -66.6% -, the fourth in the League after Madrid (39), Sevilla (40) and Atlético (48). “Playing in your field without an audience costs more,” the Dutchman resolved. Celta ratified it at the weekend (1-2), disconcerting Koeman when trying to fix the mess with anonymous players during the course such as Riqui Puig, Pjanic, Braithwaite and Trincão. Koeman is at the forward and Xavi asks for the time to complete the convoluted circle between president Laporta and the still Barça coach.
It turns out that in 2003, when Laporta won the elections for the first time, he decided that Antic could not continue in office no matter how he revitalized the team with his arrival. Barça’s numbers were laughable, saved from playing in Europe with a Chilean from Rivaldo on Valencia. Then 56 points were achieved, the worst mark of the century [76 suma ahora, la cuarta peor, tras los 72 de la 2003-04 y los 67 de la 2007-08]. At that time advised by his friend Johan Cruyff and convinced by his football proposal that defined Barça’s DNA, he pursued a coach in Holland who, he assumed, had similar roots. He tried it with Guus Hiddink until PSV assured that he would not sell it and tried to sign Koeman, then Ajax coach, for which they requested a million euros. “We are not going to pay,” resolved former sports director Txiki Begiristain (now from City). For what came Frank Rijkaard, who started crooked but with the passage of time and the 4-3-3 with the winter signing of Edgar Davids as the key to success, corrected the team’s step and cut Madrid 18 points to finish second , only surpassed by Valencia.
The story goes that Rijkaard later set up a high-flying team crowned in Paris (2006), eroded over time by the low demands of the technician and the dolce far niente of the template exemplified in Ronaldinho. And Laporta looked at home, at a Guardiola who was discovering more cruyffista than Johan. Although Koeman was able to return in 2015 because he was the asset of one of the candidates (Agustí Benedito signed a preliminary agreement with the coach, who was at Southampton at the time), it was not until former president Josep Maria Bartomeu felt the rope around his neck after the debacle last year in Europe – Bayern’s 2-8 in Lisbon – when he decided to bet on the Wembley idol who delivered the first European Cup to Barcelona. Koeman accepted, but with the passage of time he has shown that he likes attacking football but not so much the concepts cruyffistas Because, for example, Barça had not played with two forwards for a long time, nor did they give amplitude to the attack or prominence to the wingers to take away spaces from the media. And putting defenses to close the games, perhaps, was his greatest heresy, accepting the Barça condition of inferiority.
Laporta and Koeman ate last week at a restaurant in Barcelona. “I see myself as a coach next year. The president has shown me his trust from day one. I have signed for two years and if not, then we will have to talk ”, he challenged before sitting down at the table. “I want and can continue if I have the confidence of the club,” he said a few days ago in a twist in his speech. And he has it half from the sports management but not so much for Laporta, who opts for Xavi, a persecutor of that idea cruyffista. “Koeman is honest and straightforward through the good and the bad. If he says that now, it is because he feels that he does not have all the support ”, they accept from the offices of the sports city while deciphering that the new coach is a presidential decision with the acquiescence of Mateu Alemany, director of Barça football.
It happens that Laporta does not have another Dutchman in his bedroom who stands out with that philosophy beyond Wim Jonk, who is not very relevant on the international scene because he trains Volendam, but who is part of the Cruyff Academy and was director of the Ajax quarry. . Not a technician from the house other than García Pimienta, now in the subsidiary. Perhaps Löw is there, but they distrust that he has been in charge of Germany for so many years and has not looked for a day job at a leading club. So Xavi, who has won the Qatari league with Al-Saad and the Cup, is the option. The ex-Azulgrana has already reached an agreement with the candidate Víctor Font – losing the pulse with Laporta in the presidential race – in which he did not ask as much as he did demand from Bartomeu when he decided to fire Valverde two winters ago. He was concerned, however, that they would let him be the image of the Qatar World Cup because of his commitments. Now he wants to have the power of action, also surround himself with the team of his choice. Laporta will take command but Koeman intuits, given the lack of support and after speaking with the president, that his time at the Camp Nou is just not that Xavi does not arrive or they do not find another who defends Cruyff’s philosophy.