Barcelona have joined the list of top clubs turning to their former players to handle their team as they have confirmed the appointment of Ronald Koeman as their new coach.
The Spanish club, in an official statement posted on their website on Wednesday, said Koeman has been handed a two-year deal.
The statement read in part: “FC Barcelona and Ronald Koeman have reached an agreement for the Dutchman to take over as the first-team coach until 30 June 2022.
“The presentation and subsequent press conference for the new Barça coach will take place today from 6.00 pm CEST at the Auditori 1899.”
Chelsea with Frank Lampard, Manchester United with Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Juventus with Pirlo and even Real Madrid with Zinedine Zidane are some of the big clubs that are presently being handled by former players.
Barcelona would gladly defend their choice as Koeman is coming with as much as two decades of coaching experience.
The 57-year old comes to FC Barcelona after coaching in the Premier League, La Liga, the Dutch league, the Portuguese league and also on the international stage with the Netherlands.
Interestingly, Koeman is returning to a familiar terrain having begun his coaching career at FC Barcelona as a first-team assistant coach and then as coach of Barça B in the 1998-99 season.
It has not been the best of seasons at Barcelona as they failed both on the domestic and continental stage where they were disgraced out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich.
While many are taken aback by the recent developments, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke on Tuesday on Barça TV+ where he assured that all is under control.
He said: “There is a sporting crisis. We have a football crisis; not an institutional crisis nor a crisis of model. The model and the style of play is the same, but there are aspects of the model that have to be improved. We have to strengthen and develop with more physical football. We need talent and a footballing idea but also other physical aspects that perhaps before we did not take into account.”
Aside from changing their coach, Barcelona have already hinted there would be wholesale changes in their playing personnel also.
Tunde Eludini is a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he studied International Relations. He is a Senior Correspondent coordinating the sports section for PREMIUM TIMES. Twitter: @tundeyeludini