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Ronald Koeman played for Barcelona between 1989-1995 © AFP/File TORU YAMANAKA

Football

old boy Koeman appointed Barcelona coach

MADRID, Spain, Aug 18 – Former Barcelona midfielder Ronald Koeman has been appointed the club’s new coach, the La Liga giants’ president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday.

Koeman, who has been in charge of the Netherlands since 2018, replaces Quique Setien who was sacked after Barca were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals in a 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich on Friday.

According to reports Koeman and his agent were negotiating a two-year contract late on Monday, with the second year dependent on the outcome of the presidential elections.

“Koeman will be Barca’s coach next season,” Bartomeu told the side’s television channel.

“If everything goes OK, Koeman will be the coach we announce and will guide this team and the players with a different project.

“It’s someone the supporters know well, not just as a player but also as a coach.”

Koeman is a hero at Barca after starring for them as a player under Johan Cruyff and scoring the winning goal in the 1992 European Cup final — the Catalan club’s first ever success in Europe’s top club competition.

His coaching career has been mixed and he arrives with Catalans in crisis.

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Setien was fired on Monday after the heavy loss which meant Barca finish the season trophy-less for the first time since 2007.

Earlier on Tuesday sporting director Eric Abidal was axed, who also paid the price for the Bayern trouncing and a campaign of internal conflict by surrendering the La Liga title to Real Madrid.

Abidal came under fire for his handling of the dismissal of then coach Ernesto Valverde in January.

The former left-back blamed the players for Valverde’s dismissal in an interview, provoking an angry reaction from the club’s normally discreet superstar Lionel Messi.

Bartomeu’s own position is also under threat according to reports with June’s presidential elections moved forward to March 15.

Mauricio Pochettino was also considered as a replacement for Setien but his previous comments dismissing Barca due to his links with rivals Espanyol have counted against him.

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