The 2021/22 season started in uncertain circumstances for Ronald Koeman. Joan Laporta had recently been voted as Barcelona’s next president and opted to give the Dutchman his vote of confidence. This was despite the previous season not being as successful as he would have liked.
Speaking with ‘Mundo Deportivo’, Laporta explained the conversation he had with Koeman in the summer about his doubts in the manager.
“At the end of the season, I thought about changing the manager but we had just won the Copa, which was amazing, and we were in a fragile economic situation. I spoke with Koeman. He asked me if he was my coach and I said no. I told him: “Don’t make me answer that right now because I have my doubts. We have won the Copa but I don’t like the way we play. The system’s changed. I want to understand why because we don’t have the right players for it. Let me reflect for 15 days and then I’ll answer your question“, he revealed.
The season began and a series of bad results ended up in Xavi being brought in to replace Koeman. “It wasn’t the best thing to change manager. Koeman had a contract in effect and we had given him the opportunity. But due to circumstances, also with a lot of injuries, it wasn’t going well. The squad was lacking in terms of the mentality, motivation… We had conversations with Xavi and I asked him if he was ready”, he recalled.
The end of this story is now well known. “I asked Xavi if he would be able to come because he was in Qatar and had a contract in effect with Al-Sadd. He said yes and then Mateu Alemany and Rafa Yuste sorted everything out“, he said.
Laporta believes that he always did everything in the right manner, despite the doubts he had in sticking with Koeman beyond the 2020/21 season. “I don’t regret anything, I did everything in Barca’s interest. I’ve said it many times. I only regret the things I do in bad conscience. I always try to do the best for the club. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. That’s life“, he expressed.
The president prefers not to speculate how things would have gone if he had stuck with Koeman this season. “I don’t know, analysing that is more complicated because we’ve had the January window. We’ve been able to bring in players who’ve made a difference. Before, we didn’t have them… Maybe if I had done this before, things would have been better but I’m not sure”, he finished.