Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has engaged in a public war of words with president Joan Laporta, insisting he is the sole reason the club ‘has a future’.
Koeman joined the club in the summer of 2020 and has overseen a period of real transition at Camp Nou, but there has always been a feeling that he is seen by those at the club as more of a temporary coach – a sentiment which Barcelona’s actions haven’t exactly helped.
Laporta spent two weeks in the summer looking for a replacement for Koeman before ‘committing’ to him again, and the president has since gone public to tell Koeman that he must earn a new contract, setting the Dutchman targets which he must hit if he wants to keep his job.
Koeman was left frustrated by Laporta’s willingness to speak publicly about the situation, and he let his tension boil over in a recent interview with NOS.
“My relationship with Laporta has improved, but something happened last week that I think is not right,” he 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.”
While fans haven’t always supported Koeman for his man-management and style of play, the reason he is taking the credit for Barcelona’s future is his willingness to put faith in young players and his attempts to bring the La Masia academy back to relevancy.
The likes of Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza, Sergino Dest and Gavi have all shone under Koeman, but his greatest success story has been the rise of 18-year-old midfielder Pedri, who is already a permanent fixture in the team for both club and country.
Having said that, Koeman’s tactical style has also raised eyebrows at times, and Laporta wants to see more from the Dutchman before extending his contract beyond the end of the campaign.