"Koeman considers himself too honest to be a coach"

How is the situation of the Barça coach experienced in the Netherlands?

Joan Carol
3 min
Ronald Koeman during the training session before the match against Bayern.

BarcelonaRonald Koeman left his national team to manage Barça. And in the Netherlands this filled the fans with pride. Edwin Winkels, correspondent in Spain for the website, is a great connoisseur of the coach because he has done most of the interviews with him for the documentary Força Koeman. He explains: "In our country everyone supported him. We knew that his dream was to coach Barça". Journalist Joep Schreuder, a reporter for NOS TV, an Eredivisie specialist who has been following Barça for more than twenty years, also knows the coach very well. He now sees the club's present situation as black: "You have to understand that Barça is in a bad moment. Right now it's nothing".

Before leading the national team, Koeman had a long career in the Netherlands. In the Eredivisie, the revolution he brought about at Feyenoord, as well as winning several leagues, stands out, as Schreuder recalls. The Rotterdam outfit, who finished tenth in 2010-11, climbed to second place the following season under the current coach. "He's good at bringing teams back to life, he's a specialist, and he felt he was capable of doing it at Barça", Winkels explains. "But he wanted to enjoy the people at the Camp Nou and instead he found himself with a sad image, overwhelmed by problems. Even Koeman, who is a cold man, is overwhelmed by everything that is happening at Barça at the moment", Winkels continues. At the press conference ahead of Monday's game with Granada, Koeman himself recalled his commitment to Barça: "Despite knowing everything, I wanted to come to the club". In the same vein, Schreuder explains the current feeling of the coach: "He's a wounded warrior. He has a lot of pride, he's a competitor and, above all, a winner. It's not in his DNA to be a victim. He fights for his club, for the pride of the club he loves".

From the beginning, Koeman saw himself as having the strength to revive the team of his heart, but everything has been a problem. "For months he was the only spokesman for the club", recalls Winkels, who says: "This made it difficult for him to manage a team with the obligation to be the best in the world". Winkels also regrets the coach's relationship with the president. "Laporta's public insinuation that he was looking for a replacement sunk him. It was lethal for his authority". Schreuder, who is close to Koeman, is also a fan of his: "I spoke to Laporta in his previous period and he was a different man. He has become an opportunist. Before, he had some very good advisors by his side. Now he doesn't. I went to Koeman in May when Laporta told him he wanted another coach, but Koeman didn't want to leave Barça because he really loves the club".

"He was aware of the threat of Xavi's arrival"

"He knew it could be his last chance to coach Barça. From day one he was aware of the threat of Xavi's arrival and it was clear to him that it was now or never. But it is difficult to redirect the team if everyone knows that the president does not want your continuity. The only thing that can save him are the results", Winkels admits. In the same vein, ex-Blaugrana Ronald de Boer, speaking to SER, is confident in Koeman's ability and believes he can still succeed at the Camp Nou, as he did when he was a player: "He has the heart of Barça. If he continues, he will do well".

Poor results at the start of the season have complicated the coach's life to the point where he is more and more uncomfortable at every press conference. "This tiki-taki thing is an expression mistake", excuses Winkels, who admits: "We [in the Netherlands] often say it like that". In fact, if Koeman wanted to make a criticism, he would be much more direct. "He never hides, he always says what he thinks. He has confessed to me that he thinks he is too honest for this profession", says the journalist.