Ronald Koeman pulls no punches in tense press conference as under-fire Barcelona boss says he is ‘tired of defending himself’ amid terrible run of results… but concedes that rumours of his possible sacking are ‘TRUE’
- Ronald Koeman came out fighting during a tense press conference on Friday
- The Dutchman’s job at Barcelona hangs by a threat amid a poor run of results
- Koeman, 58, said he is ‘tired of defending himself’ and bemoaned his treatment
- The former Everton boss admitted that rumours of his sacking are ‘true’
Ronald Koeman came out fighting on Friday as the under-fire Barcelona boss said he is ‘tired of defending himself’, but acknowledged that rumours of his possible sacking are ‘true’.
Pressure is growing on Koeman, 58, amid a shocking run of results for Barcelona including their recent 3-0 loss to Benfica in the Champions League.
The former Everton and Southampton boss’ position as coach appears untenable, with Sportsmail reporting this week that it is a matter of when, not if he will be axed.
Ronald Koeman has come out fighting in a tense press conference on Friday morning
And Koeman did not hold back during a tense press conference on Friday, insisting that he is not ignorant to rumours circulating of his departure from the Nou Camp.
‘The club have said nothing to me,’ Koeman said on Friday via ESPN. ‘I’ve learned that the president was [at the training ground] this morning, but I have not seen him.
‘We’re preparing for Saturday’s game. I can’t say anything. But I have eyes and ears and I know a lot of things have been leaked, which I imagine are true, but no one has said anything to me.’
The Spanish media quizzed the Dutchman on his record at Barcelona, much to the frustration of the boss, who expressed his weariness with such questions.
The Dutchman’s job as Barcelona coach hangs by a thread after a dismal run of results
Barcelona president Joan Laporta is expected to sack the former Everton boss shortly
‘I’m tired of defending myself,’ he added. ‘It doesn’t make any sense. People who know can analyze it. We have assumed changes in the club.
‘This is for you, there will be people who think it is disrespectful, But that is not for today. One day I would like to talk about everything I think. That is true.’
Koeman was also asked to detail the current status of his relationship with president Joan Laporta, amid reports that the pair did not speak to each other on the journey back from Benfica.
Again, the 58-year-old refused to be drawn into a response. ‘I’m not going to answer that question,’ he said.
Asked for his best and worst moments in charge, Koeman said: ‘If I have to reply…it’s like I’m gone already. The best moment? Signing to be coach of Barca. The worst? The departure of Messi.’
Barcelona boss Koeman said that the rumours surrounding his possible sacking are ‘true’
Ultimately. Koeman’s terse exchange with the press on Friday stems from what he feels is poor treatment amid Barcelona’s shocking run of one win in their last five matches.
‘No need to answer. What do you think? You are very important. You can help, you can criticize. It is not a question of being good or bad, it is the treatment.’
Koeman’s latest comments come as Barcelona continue to weigh up their options around his sacking – which now appears to be a formality – after directors stayed up until 4am deciding when to pull the trigger after returning home from Benfica.
Laporta and his fellow board members debated into the early hours how they would get around LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play rules to sack him – with Koeman expected to remain in charge for Saturday’s game against Atletico Madrid, although he is banned from the touchline.
Barcelona have the international break to install a new coach but their options are limited by the Spanish League rules applied to teams who fail to operate inside LaLiga-imposed salary limits.
The frustrated Dutchman said he was ‘tired of defending myself’ and his record as coach
Legendary midfielder Xavi has been made one of the favourites to replace him, while Belgium boss Roberto Martinez is said to be another target for Laporta.
The obstacle is that the former Everton coach would have to buy himself out of his contract with the Belgium football federation at the cost of around €1.8m (£1.6m). He would need Barcelona to reimburse him that money.
Xavi – currently manager of Qatari outfit Al-Sadd – is a hit with supporters and has long been favoured by the board, although Laporta has been wary of throwing him into the current turbulent situation for his first major coaching role.
Another option is Andrea Pirlo, but there are concerns about his lack of experience as a manager following a failed spell at Juventus.
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