Koeman speaks out on Barcelona job as Messi problem looms large

Ronald Koeman: Has Everton upwardly mobile

Ronald Koeman has admitted he would like to return to Barcelona, but has played down talk a contract has already been signed.

The Holland boss has been heavily linked to the role since the Catalan side were thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich.

Quique Setien was relieved of his duties on Monday and Barcelona revealed his replacement would be appointed this week.

Former Everton manager Koeman is reportedly the favourite to take the job. He briefly discussed the vacancy outside the Dutch Football Federation headquarters on Tuesday.

Asked whether he would like to return to Barcelona, the 57-year-old told AS: “Yes, I’d like to, but it will only be confirmed once I have signed the contract.

“Until then, I cannot say any more about it – even though I’d like to.”

Koeman spent six years as a player at the Nou Camp and scored the winning goal in the European Cup final against Sampdoria in 1992.

Setien, who replaced Ernesto Valverde in January, had signed a contract to keep him at the club until the summer of 2022, but was sacked after only seven months in charge.


The 61-year-old won 16 of his 25 games in charge of Barca but the team ended the campaign trophyless.

Even before Friday’s embarrassment against Bayern Munich, the Spaniard was under intense pressure. That’s after he failed to stop Real Madrid clinching the league title.

The one-time Real Betis boss was also unable to lead Barcelona to success in the Copa del Rey. Athletic Bilbao knocked them out in the quarter-finals.

Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is another linked with the role. Xavi, who won a plethora of titles at Barca, has also been mentioned.


Messi issue top of the agenda

Lionel Messi TEAMtalk

One of the problems for the new man in charge will be the future of captain Lionel Messi. The talismanic Argentine will be out of contract next summer.

The Argentinian has so far failed to agree new terms with the only club of his career. At the age of 33, it has been reported that he wants to leave.

Amid links to Man City, Messi has also been mentioned as a possible target for Man Utd and Inter Milan.

The new boss will also have to deal with off-field issues.

It has been revealed the next presidential elections will not take place until March. The current board cited the short break between campaigns and the coronavirus pandemic as key reasons behind the decision.

A statement read: “The club will continue to implement the plan to reverse the sporting and economic situation, based on profound changes to the first team, plus a redefined budget to deal with the new situation caused by Covid-19, before the end of the current mandate.

“The holding of the elections from March 15 next year implies that the board of directors assume full responsibility regarding the 2020-2021 financial year.”

Also, number one goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has had surgery on his right patellar tendon. He will be sidelined for two-and-a-half months, ruling him out of the start of next season.

LaLiga is set to return on September 12, which gives the Catalan club only a short amount of time to appoint a new boss and start rebuilding an ageing squad.


Read more: Barcelona make it their priority to beat Man Utd to €50m man