Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman delivered a brutal put-down to Miralem Pjanic after he started a war of words with the Dutchman.
Pjanic, 31, departed for Besiktas on loan as Barcelona attempted to wrest their colossal wage bill under control. The midfielder had only moved to the Camp Nou in 2020 in a deal worth an initial €60m.
However, Pjanic failed to replicate the form he showed in Serie A with Roma and Juventus. In 30 games for the Spaniards across all competitions last season, Pjanic failed to register a single goal or assist.
An exit was therefore inevitable, but the Bosnia and Herzegovina international took great offence to the way his exit was handled.
“Koeman disrespected me,” Pjanic recently told Spanish outlet Marca (via the Mirror). “You need confidence and dialogue and things to be said to your face. That never happened.
“This is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me. I’m a player who can accept anything but I would like to be given an explanation.
“I don’t want to be treated like it’s nothing and I’m still 15 years old. I’d have liked him to have told me to my face that he didn’t want me. He doesn’t speak to you and I don’t understand it.”
Predictably, Koeman has not taken kindly to those comments. And in response, the ex-Everton boss insisted Pjanic had simply “fallen short” of his fellow midfielders in multiple aspects of the game.
“I think there’s some frustration on the player’s part and I understand that,” said Koeman (via the Mirror).
“However, in terms of how we play, our ideas with and without the ball, he’s fallen short of other midfielders.
“That’s it. I wish him all the best. It’s been complicated, but we tried and we saw that there are other players who are better than him.”
Koeman undeterred by Barcelona meltdown
Despite the club’s financial turmoil that has seen their squad gutted, Koeman remains steadfast in his desire to lead Barcelona back to glory. And when asked if he would be open to renewing his contract, the Dutchman sounded more than willing.
“Yes, of course, I am open to renewal,” he told Spanish publication Sport (via the Mirror). “I am very excited to continue as Barca coach for many years, despite the difficult moments at the club today.
“But I think that thanks to our decisions, coach and technical staff, Barca has young players with a huge immediate future and hopefully within three, four or five years I can continue to be their coach.”
Touching on the financial crisis that has seen the likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann depart, Koeman added: “I have always believed that I have a duty to help the club where I am, looking for ways to improve the team without compromising the good of the organisation.
“Of course, what is happening at Barca in recent times is something very special. Everything has happened to me!”