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Ronald Koeman confirmed as the...
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Ronald Koeman confirmed as the new Barcelona manager

Colm Boohig
Colm Boohig

10:51 19 Aug 2020

The former Barcelona defender Ronald Koeman has been appointed as the club's new boss, signing a two-year contract.

Koeman succeeds Quique Setien, who was dismissed as manager following Barcelona's 8-2 annihilation at the hands of Bayern Munich last Friday night in the Champions League quarter-final.

The announcement means that Koeman departs his role as the Netherlands manager, a position which he held since February 2018 following a three-year spell in the Premier League in charge of Southampton initially and subsequently Everton.

During his recent tenure, Koeman guided the Netherlands to last year's UEFA Nations League final where they fell to Portugal in the decider.

The 57-year-old's departure as the Dutch boss marks his return to a club where he won a number of trophies as a player, the highlight of which was his goal against Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992 which clinched Barcelona's first-ever European Cup.

Koeman additionally won four La Liga titles in a row and the Copa del Rey as part of Johan Cruyff's star-studded side and returned to the Nou Camp in 1999 to commence his coaching career.

In a statement on the club's official website on Wednesday morning, the news was shared with delight.

"Barcelona and Ronald Koeman have reached an agreement for the Dutchman to take over as first-team coach until 30 June 2022," the statement began.

"The blaugrana legend, hero of Wembley, the man who handed Barça their first-ever victory in the European Cup returns to Camp Nou.

"This time, however, he will do so as coach as the Dutchman brings more than 20 years of experience as manager and eight trophies on his CV. Ronald Koeman comes to FC Barcelona after coaching in the Premier League, La Liga, the Dutch league, the Portuguese league and also on the international stage with the Netherlands."

It has been a tumultuous season for Barcelona, their first trophyless campaign since 2007/08 - Frank Rijkaard's last in charge before the Pep Guardiola revolution began. Josep Maria Bartomeu, the club president, is under intense pressure ahead of the famous club elections, due to take place next year.

Meanwhile, the future of captain Lionel Messi has never been more uncertain and the big question mark over Koeman's appointment is whether he will get to fulfil his contract of two years amid speculation that Barça legend Xavi is waiting to take over as manager once Bartomeu leaves the club; an event which looks extremely likely to occur within the next 12 months at the time of writing.

This week, the once-popular and successful ex-Barça defender Eric Abidal followed Setien out the exit door and was replaced by Ramon Planes as the new technical secretary.

Koeman is scheduled to be officially presented as the new Barcelona manager at 5pm Irish time on Wednesday.

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