Ronald Koeman will remain as Barcelona head coach for the 2021-22 season, president Joan Laporta confirmed on Thursday.
Dutchman Koeman – a legend in his playing days at Camp Nou – guided Barca to a third-placed finish in LaLiga last term, meaning they finished outside of the top two for the first time since 2007-08, though the Blaugrana did succeed in winning the Copa del Rey.
They were inspired by Lionel Messi, who scored 30 league goals to win an eighth Pichichi trophy, though the 33-year-old is also the subject of speculation over his next move, with his contract at Barca coming to an end.
Koeman was appointed by Josep Maria Bartomeu last year, after Quique Setien’s ill-fated tenure, with the former Netherlands coach signing a two-year contract.
Laporta succeeded Bartomeu in March, taking charge at Camp Nou for a second spell, and reports had suggested he was keen to install his own choice as coach.
On Thursday, however, he confirmed the 58-year-old will remain in charge for at least another year.
“After this reflection period, we have agreed that we will continue the current contract of Ronald Koeman,” Laporta told a media conference.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 3, 2021
“We’re very satisfied with the conversations we have had. They were frank conversations and the coach’s behaviour was impeccable.
“We found solutions to any slight differences. We have thought about what is best for Barcelona and we’re all happy to make this announcement.”
Asked if he would have kept Koeman on if there had not been a year left on his contract, Laporta said: “The year remaining that he had was an independent thing and didn’t condition us.
“For now, the previous contract continues. We’ll have talks about everything else further down the line.
“He already made an effort last season and we haven’t contemplated [a pay cut] this time. He understands the club’s situation.”
After a poor start to the congested season, Barca did manage to drag themselves into title contention, only to slip up towards the end of the campaign.
Their tally of 79 points is their lowest total since 2007-08, when they managed 67. Indeed, the last coach to earn 76 or fewer points in his first 38 games with the club was Frank Rijkaard in 2003-04 (72 – W21 D9 L8).
With Atletico Madrid triumphing this year and Real Madrid winning LaLiga in 2019-20, it meant Barca have failed to win the title in two successive seasons for the first time since 2008.
Uncertainty over Koeman’s future has not stopped Barca acting swiftly in the transfer market, albeit mostly acquiring players who were available on free transfers.
Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia have arrived following the expiration of their contracts at Premier League champions Manchester City, while Barca also exercised their option to bring Emerson back to the club following two seasons at Real Betis.
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