Ronald Koeman said “it feels very special” to be appointed head coach of his “dream club” Barcelona.
Barca on Wednesday announced Koeman as the successor to Quique Setien, who was let go following the 8-2 hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday.
Koeman, who spent six years at Camp Nou as a player under Johan Cruyff and served as an assistant to Louis van Gaal for two, has left his role as head coach of the Netherlands to sign a two-year contract with the Catalan giants.
“It was an honour to be the national coach of the Netherlands. Over the past two and a half years, I have done everything I can to achieve success with Oranje,” he said in a statement published by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB).
“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.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 19, 2020
Koeman was appointed Netherlands boss in 2018, after they failed to qualify for that year’s World Cup following the disappointment of missing out on a place at Euro 2016.
The 57-year-old had an immediate impact, gaining Oranje a place in the inaugural Nations League Finals – where they were beaten to the trophy by Portugal – by winning a group that included World Cup winners France and Germany.
Arsene Wenger dismissed a report he will take over from Koeman ahead of Euro 2020, which was postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dwight Lodeweges has been named interim Netherlands boss until a permanent successor is appointed.
KNVB director of football Eric Gudde said: “We regret Ronald’s decision, but respect his choice.
“In the period Ronald has been national coach, he has achieved very good results with the Dutch national team. He has given Oranje colour in its cheeks again after a number of difficult years and we are very grateful to him for that.
“Meanwhile, the group of players has developed tremendously, in that respect we can continue on the same patch.”
Koeman is set to oversee a significant overhaul of the playing staff at Barcelona after their Champions League humiliation and Real Madrid dethroning them in LaLiga.
The majority of senior players are reported to be up for sale, with Lionel Messi alleged to be seeking an exit from Camp Nou.
Sporting director Eric Abidal had his contract terminated by mutual consent on Tuesday so Koeman will work alongside Ramon Planes, who was promoted as the Frenchman’s replacement on Wednesday.
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