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Friday, June 21, 2024

Koeman on Xavi outgoing: Barcelona politics makes job tough

Former Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said he understands Xavi’s complaints about managing the Catalan giants, noting the difficulties that come with the “political situation” at the club.

Since announcing his intention to leave at the end of the season, Xavi has spoken publicly about not enjoying day-to-day life as Barça head coach and feeling underappreciated for his achievements.

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Koeman was replaced by Xavi as Barça manager in November 2021.

“It is so much more fun to be a Barcelona player than a coach. I suffered from the pressure and stress. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever done,” Koeman told ESPN Netherlands.

“I do understand Xavi. In my case compared to Xavi’s, I had a conflict with the president [Joan Laporta]. In his case, as a Catalan and a child of the club, he has also found that being a player is so much more fun and beautiful than being a coach. It [being a coach] was also very tough for me.”

Koeman, now manager of the Netherlands national team, added that external media and internal biases at Barça further complicate the job.

“With all due respect, Xavi was a trainer in Qatar. Then he joins Barcelona. There everything will be on your plate,” he said.

“He has always been praised but now also sees the other side. The media has a gun on you and the political situation at the club is not nice either. The problem lies with the head of the club.

“They must ensure that a trainer can function well. I haven’t been a mental wreck, but I have suffered from the pressure and stress of the club. It’s no fun when your kids cry when you lose a game. Then you also feel like ‘f— it, get out.'”

Barça are third in LaLiga, eight points behind leaders Real Madrid. Madrid face second-placed Girona on Saturday, while Barça host Granada on Sunday.

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