IN SURPRISING DEVELOPMENTS at Barcelona, new coach in Ronald Koeman is said still cannot take charge of Barcelona in an official game, with the La Liga season set to resume later this month.
Koeman replaced Quique Setien in the Camp Nou hot seat earlier this summer and was even officially unveiled by president Josep Bartomeu. Spanish publication Cadena COPE has, however, reported Setien has not been sacked by the club officially.
Setien was reportedly shown the exit door after a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last month. An official statement by Barcelona at the time read:
“This is the first decision within a wider restructuring of the first team which will be agreed between the current technical secretary and the new coach, who will be announced in the coming days.”
A severance package is reported to be awaiting agreement between Setien and Barca, leaving Koeman’s situation on a knife-edge. The Blaugrana are awaiting the season opener against Villarreal which takes place in just 10 days and the Dutchman may not be taking charge by the time the game comes around, despite being in the dugout for pre-season friendlies against Gimnastic and Girona in the last week.
“My opinion is to have the best attack we can put on the pitch and some players, they can occupy different positions,” Koeman explained per the football website, Goal. Despite the entire attacking receiving praise, it was once again Messi who stole all the headlines.
“Messi can play the nine, the winger inside, and it’s a good thing to have those kinds of possibilities,” added Koeman. The Argentina captain showed early signs of being at his best as he produced an inch-perfect pass to Francisco Trincao in the build-up for his side’s first goal.
He ended the first half on a high note as he added Barcelona’s second goal in stunning fashion at the Johan Cruyff Stadium before bagging a second early in the second half to close out the match with a brace.