From an adorable hero to a tragic villain - Ronald Koeman has seen it all

Ahnaf Wazed Khan | Saturday, 30 October 2021

He was the marauding defender for FC Barcelona who used to hit the target from the distance for fun. He was the protagonist of Barcelona’s first-ever European glory. 

He lived the dream in Catalunia’s ‘Dream Team’ fulfilling the dreams of a generation and made room to dream bigger for the next generation of fans. 

All of these were in the ’90s decade. Fast forward 20 years, he finds himself at the other end of the road. The tables have turned brutally over for him.

We are talking about Ronald Koeman here. He had been a sweeper for Barcelona and protected them from any danger or attack when he played the game. Once again took the challenge to sweep up the mess that Barca was into and protect them from any future calamity. 

Following the 8-2 humiliation, trophyless season, a team lacking team spirit and malfunctioning, Lionel Messi trying to move out-- Koeman had to go through all these. He left the job of the Dutch national team to join Barca. He left the comfortable chair to the hot seat of a falling empire. 

Messi out of form, Fati long term injury, Griezmann finding it hard to fit in, the team sinking in the 12th spot-- problems kept following him. 

But then he turned things around with an unbeaten run of 19 games in the league. But some thought this is the best he can do and there’s no going forward from here.  

Unfortunately, they are proven right. The home loss to Granada by 2-1 not only blew away Barca’s chance to win the league but also took away the last bit of hope for Koeman. 

Though the season started dreadfully for him and media pressure was huge to sack him, he somehow had the confidence of the board. But last Wednesday’s defeat against Rayo Vallecano was a hard one to swallow and finally, the board decided to bid him adieu.

He is leaving the Barca dressing room with 1 Copa Del Rey triumph, 1 third-place finish, 1 second-round exit from UCL. 

He has a record of 39 wins, 12 draws and 14 losses in his tenure. A win percentage of 59.09 per cent, the highest among any Dutch managers of Barca. The team scored 135 and conceded 71 goals. 

Another club legend Xavi Hernandez is rumoured to be the best placed to succeed him. Needless to say, whoever gets the job, has a way tougher road ahead than Koeman. 

Somewhat decent results might have saved him. But his treatment to some certain players, his absurd comments in the press conference, the team putting one after another miserable performance, lack of hunger, fight and discipline within the team did not help him. 

He was one of the most adored players in the history of FC Barcelona. But he is leaving now as one of the most criticised Barcelona managers ever. Ronald Koeman has truly seen it all.

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