Barcelona have appointed Ronald Koeman as their new manager on a two-year deal
The man, who as a player, handed Barça their first-ever victory in the European Cup, Ronald Koeman, returns to Camp Nou. This time, however, he will do so as manager of the senior team.
The 57-year-old Dutchman brings over 20 years of experience as a manager and eight trophies on his CV as he joins the Catalans, replacing Quique Setien, who was sacked following Barca’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Ronald Koeman finally returns to FC Barcelona after coaching in the Premier League, La Liga, the Dutch league, the Portuguese league, and also on the international stage with the Netherlands.
Koeman began his coaching career at FC Barcelona as first-team assistant coach and then as coach of Barça B in the 1998-99 season.
He spent six years as a player at Barcelona and was a member of Johan Cruyff’s legendary ‘Dream Team’, winning four La Liga titles and scored the winning goal in the 1992 European Cup final during his playing days at the Nou Camp, and was the preferred candidate of Barca president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.
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After Barcelona confirmed Koeman as its fourth boss in the last three years, the Dutchman tells the Dutch FA’s website:
“Everyone knows that Barcelona is my dream club. It feels very special to me to be able to become a coach there.
“It was an honour to be the national coach of the Netherlands. Over the past two-and-a-half years, I have done everything I can to achieve success.
“I look back with pride on what we have achieved together in that period. The Dutch national team has a bright future, I am convinced of that.”
The governing body’s director of professional football, Eric Gudde, said: “We regret Ronald’s decision but respect his choice.”
Just before Koeman’s appointment was confirmed – Bartomeu tells Barcelona’s website: “We already know how he thinks and his philosophy. We bet on him. He was the first one we called in January.
“It’s a dream for him. As he was in Johan’s ‘Dream Team’, he knows Barca and how we understand football.”
Quique Setien was appointed in January but left after overseeing Barca’s first season without a trophy since 2007/08.
Sporting director Eric Abidal – also a former Barcelona player – followed Setien through the exit door after leaving his role as sporting director on Tuesday. He has been replaced by his understudy, Ramon Planes.
Mauricio Pochettino, who was the preferred candidate of Planes to replace Setien didn’t get the job as it was understood that there was resistance towards the former Tottenham manager because of his links with Barca’s city rivals, Espanyol, where he was both a player and a manager.
Other board members were keen on former Barcelona great Xavi, who is currently in charge of Al Sadd in Qatar.