Ronald Koeman has been on the hot seat for months now, and Barcelona finally put an end to his 14 months in charge at the Nou Camp after losing at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.
The defeat left Barcelona ninth in the table, six points adrift of the joint leaders after having picked up just 15 points from 10 games in La Liga and have already lost twice in the group stage of this season’s Champions League.
The loss was Barca’s third in their last four games and it followed defeat in Sunday’s Clasico to Real Madrid. It is the first time since September 1987 that Barca have lost three away games in a row without scoring – a run that saw English manager Terry Venables sacked.
In a statement, the Spanish club said:
“The president of the club, Joan Laporta, informed him [Koeman] of the decision after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano.
“Ronald Koeman will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday.”
The Dutchman has not been helped by the club’s significant financial problems, which resulted in Lionel Messi’s exit and subsequent move to Paris St-Germain in August.
Speaking after Wednesday’s defeat, Koeman said:
“I don’t know if my job is at risk.”
“The situation is circumstantial. We have players who can score goals, it may be that we have a weaker midfield, but I can’t complain about the team.
“It was tough for us to get a grip on the game, they put us under a lot of pressure, and were able to hold out. The result isn’t fair, but it is what it is and we can’t change it now.”
“They might have a more balanced squad, maybe they have better physiques than we do,” Koeman said. “We’ve shown we can play but being at a good level isn’t enough.
“It’s incredible that we lost this game. There are a lot of games to come, and I’m concerned about how effective we are, but not about the way we play.
“We created a lot and played well, but that counts for nothing in Spain. It’s better if I don’t say anything.”
Club legend Xavi, the former Barca midfielder who is now manager of Qatari side Al Sadd, is one of the favourites to replace Koeman.