Ronald Koeman sacked by FC Barcelona

Ronald Koeman has been sacked as head coach of Barcelona after 14 months in charge.

After weeks of speculation, Koeman’s final game was the 1-0 defeat by Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Wednesday night, their fourth defeat in six games in all competitions.

Pressure had been building on the Dutchman since a 3-0 defeat at Benfica in late September, which made this season the club’s worst-ever start to a Champions League campaign.

They succumbed to a 2-0 away loss to Atletico Madrid in La Liga on October 2, with former forward Luis Suarez scoring the second goal at the Metropolitano Stadium, and they trail league frontrunners Real Madrid by six points in the table.

Their 2-1 loss to Real Madrid at the Nou Camp on October 24 was Koeman’s third El Clasico defeat in a row, and after the final whistle, the Barcelona boss was targeted by a crowd of fans who attacked his car as he tried to drive away from the stadium.

The club said in a statement: “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.

Koeman guided Barca to a Copa del Rey title last year.

“FC Barcelona wishes to thank him for his service to the Club and wishes him all the best in his professional career.”

After the defeat tonight, Koeman said: “It [Barcelona’s league position] says we’re not well.

“The team has lost balance in the squad, lost very effective players, which shows. In recent years other clubs have strengthened every season and we haven’t, which also shows.”

Koeman was appointed in August last year and in his first campaign led Barcelona to third place in La Liga and won the Copa del Rey.

But he has struggled in his second season following the departure of Lionel Messi, who left as a free agent in the summer to join Paris Saint-Germain with financial issues leaving Barcelona unable to afford his wages.

The Catalans will now look to replace the Dutchman as soon as possible, with club legend Xavi Hernandez, currently with Al Sadd in Qatar, the favourite to take over.

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