Barcelona Confirm Koeman As New Manager

  • Dutchman signs 2-yr contract till 2022

  • Ramon Planes is new Sporting Director

Koeman mounts saddle as Barca new manager

Still smarting from their humiliating 8-2 walloping by Bayern Munich in the quarter-final of this year’s UEFA Champions League competition, Barcelona on Wednesday confirmed Ronald Koeman as their new manager.

By making a swift change in the dugout to replace Setien, the Blaugrana have chosen the Dutchman as permanent head coach on a contract that will run until year 2022

Koeman is leaving his post in charge of the Netherlands national team to replace Quique Setien in the Camp Nou hot seat.

In an official statement on their website confirming the news, the Club said; “FC Barcelona and Ronald Koeman have reached an agreement for the Dutchman to take over as first-team coach until 30 June 2022.”

Hero of Wembley, the Blaugrana legend is the man who handed Barca their first-ever victory in the European Cup and his return to Camp Nou is expected to spark a football and structural revolution in the club.

“This time, however, he will do so as coach as the Dutchman brings more than 20 years of experience as a manager and eight trophies on his CV.

“Ronald Koeman comes to FC Barcelona after coaching in the Premier League, La Liga, the Dutch league, the Portuguese league and also on the international stage with the Netherlands”, the statement said.

Koeman spoke out on his new role while sending a final farewell message to Netherlands supporters following the KNVB’s announcement of his departure on Wednesday.

“It was an honour to be the national coach of the Netherlands,” said the 57-year-old. “For the past two-and-a-half years I have done everything I can to achieve successes with Oranje.

“I look back with pride on what we have achieved together in that period. The Dutch national team has a bright future, I am convinced of that.

“Everyone knows that Barcelona is my dream club. It feels very special to me to be able to become a coach there.”

KNVB Football Director, Eric Gudde added: “We regret Ronald’s decision, but respect his choice. He has given Orange colour to the cheeks again.”

Koeman played for Barca at the height of his playing career between 1989 and 1995, winning four league titles and the European Cup, scoring the winning goal in the final against Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992.

He has now returned to club management for the first time since leaving Everton in 2018, and will be tasked with steadying the ship at Camp Nou following a disastrous 2019-20 campaign.

Ernesto Valverde lost his job in January, despite the club being top of the table in La Liga, with ex-Real Betis boss Setien drafted in as his successor.

Barca went on to surrender their Liga crown to arch-rivals Real Madrid, before suffering an embarrassing 8-2 Champions League quarter-final defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich.

Ramon Planes…new Sporting Director

Setien’s sacking was made official on Monday after a week of intense media scrutiny at Camp Nou, and Technical Director, Eric Abidal was also relieved of his duties ahead of Koeman’s arrival.

The Club has also appointed Ramon Planes to replace Abidal as the new Technical Director. His appointment was announced just before Koeman’s engagement was confirmed and eventually made public.

After working under Eric Abidal for two years, Planes’ appointment is part of Barcelona’s restructuring plans going forward.

Abidal was sacked on Tuesday, a day after informing Head Coach Quique Setien that his services were no longer required.

Planes was appointed as Abidal’s assistant in June 2018 after a year as Technical Secretary at Getafe and will now take on the senior role at Camp Nou.

The 52-year-old spent five years at Espanyol from June 2007, while he has also worked with Tottenham during the 2014-15 season.

Planes is set to have his work cut out for him with a report by Sport suggesting the majority of the Barca first-team squad were put up for sale prior to Ronald Koeman’s appointment as Setien’s successor. – With reports

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