Ronald Koeman insists he’s ‘given Barcelona a future’ as he hits back at Joan Laporta after club president looked for a new manager in vain before demanding a more exciting brand of football
- Ronald Koeman has claimed he rescued Barcelona in pop at Joan Laporta
- Dutch manager was left in limbo over the summer as club looked to replace him
- President Laporta ultimately decided to keep Koeman but set conditions
- He demanded Koeman use a 4-3-3 formation and field La Masia graduates
- Koeman hasn’t taken kindly to Laporta speaking too much in the media
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has claimed he rescued the club as his public war of words with the club’s president Joan Laporta rumbles on.
The Dutch coach kept his job over the summer but only after Laporta, who returned to the presidency in March, spent two weeks searching for a replacement.
Koeman has been promised a contract extension next summer but only if he fulfils a number of conditions set by Laporta covering matters both on and off the pitch.
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has been left unimpressed by club president Joan Laporta
Laporta searched for a replacement manager in the summer but ultimately kept Koeman
They include setting out the team in a 4-3-3 formation, handing La Masia graduate Riqui Puig a central role and remaining composed in dealings with the media.
But that hasn’t stopped Koeman dragging grievances out into the open as he took aim at Laporta in an interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS over the weekend.
‘My relationship with Laporta has improved but something happened last week that I think is not right,’ Koeman said.
‘He was suggesting that the coach does not have all the power. He spoke too much and was not wise on two occasions.
‘That can be done in private. I like when a president is engaged and asks questions, only that should not happen in the press. That was the problem.
‘I’m open to staying, I’m just having a good time. Thanks to me, this club has a future.’
Relations remain frosty as Koeman criticised Laporta in an interview over the weekend
Koeman was pointing out that he has restored the link between the club’s fabled academy and the first team by allowing the likes of Pedri and Oscar Mingueza their opportunity to shine.
This has proved more important than ever with the revelation by Laporta that he inherited debts of £1.15billion from his predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Such financial pressures led to the departure of club icon Lionel Messi, who signed for Paris Saint-Germain over the summer after his Barcelona contract expired.
Outlay on new signings was kept to a minimum during the summer but headline arrival Memphis Depay, a free transfer from Lyon, has made a positive start.
One of Laporta’s demands was more game time for La Masia graduates such as Riqui Puig
The club president welcomes summer signing Memphis Depay to the Nou Camp back in July
Barcelona weren’t in action over the weekend but have won two and drawn one of their opening three LaLiga matches. They open their Champions League campaign against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
Koeman will still be expected to deliver an improvement on last season, when Barcelona finished third, behind Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, in the league and exited the Champions League to PSG in the last-16.
They did manage to win the Copa del Rey but that didn’t stop Laporta looking for a new manager before eventually committing to another season with Koeman.
Lionel Messi broke down in tears as he departed Barcelona during the summer
Certain strings have been attached, however, including a requirement to handle the stresses of being Barcelona manager in a more composed manner, especially in front of the media.
There is also a requirement to remain true to the club’s Johan Cruyff-inspired playing philosophy by playing an attacking formation.
Laporta also reportedly demanded that Puig, 22, be given more minutes that he has received so far under Koeman.