Barcelona have hired their former player Ronald Koeman to replace Quique Setien, after the Spaniard was sacked for overseeing a poor end to the 2019/20 season.
Koeman has left his role as Netherlands head coach and has signed on a two-year deal, although the second year of that will come after the club’s next round of elections and, as such, there may be a new administration who’ll want to bring in their own coach.
For 2020/21, though, Koeman will be the man in charge as he seeks to steer Barcelona back to winning ways.
He knows what it takes to win at the club, having lifted several titles, including the 1992 European Cup, where he scored the winning goal in the final, when he played for the Blaugrana between 1989 and 1995.
Koeman said he would be speaking to Lionel Messi about his future but also warned he only wanted to work with players who wanted to stay at the club.
‘I don’t know if I have to convince Messi,’ he told reporters at the Camp Nou. ‘He is the best player in the world and you want the best player in the world in your team, not on the other side.
‘For my part, I would love to work with Messi. He wins football matches and I would be really happy if he decides to stay.’
But the 57-year-old former Barcelona defender added later in his first press conference:
‘I only want to work with players who want to be here and if they are not happy, let them say it.’
Koeman was asked if he was going to name the players he wanted to depart, just as Pep Guardiola did in 2008 when he took over and revealed that he did not want Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto’o in his team in his first season.
The former Holland boss said:
‘I am not going to talk individually about any players. I know there are certain players of a certain age that there might be doubts about.
‘Out of respect to the players, I am not going to talk about individual players here.’
Before hiring Koeman, Barcelona considered Mauricio Pochettino and also the prospect of promoting Francisco Javier Garcia Pimienta from the B team, but ultimately the Catalan club have opted for the Dutchman.