Wednesday, 19 August 2020 11:45

 

Ronald Koeman has been named the new head coach of Barcelona two days after the club sacked Quique Setien.

Quique Setien was sacked in a meeting with technical director Eric Abidal - who himself left the club on Tuesday - just days after the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The 57-year-old left his role as Netherlands boss, with two years left on his contract, to sign a two-year deal with the Spanish giants.

He played for Barcelona between 1989 and 1995, helping them to four league titles and the European Cup.

The Catalans finished second in La Liga last season, failing to win a trophy for the first time since 2007-08.

Speaking on Tuesday - before Koeman's arrival was confirmed - Bartomeu told Barcelona's website: "We already know how he thinks and his philosophy. We bet on him. He was the first one we called in January.

"It's a dream for him. As he was in Johan's 'Dream Team', he knows Barca and how we understand football."

The club also announced Ramon Planes as the new technical director. He was the assistant to Eric Abidal, who left his role as sporting director on Tuesday.

Meanwhile the Spanish press have continued their focus on Lionel Messi's future at Barcelona on Wednesday with Marca's front page saying he has the club "in suspense".

Amid fevered speculation that Lionel Messi's days at Barcelona are numbered, the club's president has insisted his star playmaker is going nowhere.

"Messi has said many times that he wants to finish career at Barca. Koeman has said to us that Messi is the pillar of his project," Bartomeu told Barca TV.

"He has a contract until 2021. I talk to the player and his father regularly. I have no doubt, despite the disappointment of Lisbon, that we will be excited by the new project. Messi is still the best player in the world, and we have him with us.

"I have not spoken to Messi but I have spoken to his father. The pain is behind us. We have to be optimistic and we have to pick ourselves up, work hard and excite everyone."A cycle is coming to an end and another one starts but in the Messi era."

Bartomeu also insisted that the 17-year-old Ansu Fati, who became the youngest scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League after he netted a late winner Barca in the 2-1 victory over Inter Milan in December, was "not for sale."