SOCCER | BARCELONA
Barcelona sack Koeman
Barcelona has confirmed the sacking of coach Ronald Koeman following the club's back-to-back defeats against Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano.
As reports grew in Spain that the Dutchman had been relieved of his duties following the game in the Madrid neighborhood of Vallecas, the club released a statement to confirm those reports.
“FC Barcelona has relieved Ronald Koeman of his duties as first team coach. The president of the club, Joan Laporta, informed him of the decision after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano. Ronald Koeman will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday at the Ciutat Esportiva,” said the club in a statement.
“FC Barcelona wishes to thank him for his service to the Club and wishes him all the best in his professional career.”
Xavi, Roberto Martinez among favorites to replace Koeman
Pressure had been growing on Koeman after one of Barcelona’s worst starts to a season in living memory and will not come as a surprise to many in the footballing world.
After back-to-back defeats to Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano, Barcelona find themselves languishing mid-table in LaLiga after 11 games played, while two 3-0 defeats in their opening Champions League games to Bayern Munich and Benfica have left the club in danger of missing out on a place in the last-16 of the tournament.
It is unclear who will replace Koeman, who walks away after 14 months at the helm, but club legend Xavi and Belgian coach Roberto Martinez have been identified among the favorites to take the now-vacant Camp Nou coaching job.