Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman discussed his future on Friday amid speculation he will be sacked at the end of the season after missing out on the league title with the Catalan giants.
Koeman told a pre-match press conference that he is unsure if he will continue at the Camp Nou next season and needs to talk to president Joan Laporta after the team’s final game on Saturday against Eibar, as reported by ESPN.
“I honestly don’t know if I will continue as Barca coach,” he said. “We had lunch a couple of weeks ago but agreed to speak again after the season. We will see. I’ve always said I want to fulfil my contract, but the president has the last word.”
The Dutchman has won the Copa del Rey in his first season in charge but saw the team’s title hopes slip away after poor results in key games against Granada, Levante, and Atletico Madrid.
Koeman added he understands there are doubts about his continuity following a poor end to the campaign, as Barca head into the final round of fixtures seven points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.
“In the final part of the season I have not felt [the club’s backing],” he explained. “I understand after recent results there will be doubts, but we have to speak first. I know where I am. I know at a club like Barcelona, despite all the changes we’re making and will continue to make, that you must win things.”
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Koeman Praises Messi
Koeman also took time out to praise Lionel Messi who will not feature in Saturday’s match as he has been given permission to start his vacation early due to his involvement in this summer’s Copa America.
Messi should still finish as La Liga’s top scorer on 30 goals, and Koeman was full of praise for the Argentine’s contribution to the team in 2020-21. The Dutchman also remains hopeful Messi will extend his contract which expires in June.
“I hope Messi stays here for many more years. Once again, this season, he’s shown that he’s unique. He’s scored 30 goals and has been fantastic for the team. For me, as a person, as a professional, he’s been a 10,” he said. “If [he doesn’t stay], we have to develop other players, look for effectiveness for the team elsewhere because we lose 30 goals. Barca with Messi has a bigger future than Barca without Messi.”
Barcelona’s Top Target Wants Germany Job
It’s still not clear if Koeman will remain in charge of Barcelona for next season or if the club will look to make a change. Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick is reportedly a target of Laporta but has confirmed he is in talks to take over the Germany job, as reported by Goal’s Ronan Murphy.
“It’s clear that I spoke to the DFB,” he said on Friday. “Everyone knows how I feel about the national team. Things still need to be sorted out. It’s about little things. If they are settled, then we can announce it quickly.”
Koeman could well stay on and see out the final year of his contract if there are no credible candidates to take over. Club legend Xavi Hernandez remains an option and is in Barcelona on vacation currently but has just signed a two-year contract extension at Al Sadd.
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