An hour before the final of the Copa del Rey, with the line-up that Ronald Koeman was going to present against Athletic already known, the environment with the voice of FC Barcelona fumed. What if 3-5-2 is always a step back in the club, that if he had worked during the week the traditional 4-3-3 but at the last minute he had changed his mind when he detected that the team did not have the necessary energy for a more demanding tactical and physical bet, that if it was a declaration of intentions that Riqui Puig’s talent stayed in the stands, that if giving up extremes like Dembélé was a betrayal of La Masia’s philosophy … And thus a string of objections that a newcomer to the Barça world could lead him to think that the Dutch coach had lost his mind before Joan Laporta cut it off at the end of the season to supposedly place a coach of his and not of the previous president, Josep Maria Bartomeu. Well nothing superb match, 0-4 arriving on the wings and first title of «the new era», as the players wore on their shirts at the celebration. And silence among the town criers of the unique style.
“I am culé”, proclaimed Koeman in the press conference after the title. As if he had to remember that he gave the first European Cup of another new era, that of the ‘Dream Team’ in the nineties, with a free kick at Wembley against Sampdoria. Two words instead of saying that he just think about the good of the club as he demonstrated by giving up the Dutch national team before a European Championship and a World Cup because this time he could not let the train of his dreams escape. As he made clear when the salary was lowered in the middle of the economic crisis and invited the Management Board, between the presidencies of Bartomeu and Laporta, to prioritize any issue before his salary. He accepted a complicated challenge, recovered Messi emotionally and sowed for the future with young values.
Koeman they were waiting to hit him not only those resentful players he had at Valencia thirteen years ago and who now take their toll on a convulsive experience as commentators in different media. I already counted on that. As with the criticisms of those who seem to defend that referees can only complain some when they are interested and not others. The surprising thing at Barça is always friendly fire, sometimes with obvious interests, as happens with friends who want to place Xavi Hernández already, and on other occasions with unrealistic visions of the current moment of Barça. It continues to come out of the mud, muddied by Bayern 2-8, with limitations that advise more prudent, practical styles of play, but not without beauty.
The Barca football also embroidered in La Cartuja, with formidable collective plays such as Griezmann’s 0-1 or Messi’s 0-4, after two minutes of possession and all the players touching the ball. And individual actions to remember, such as Messi’s 0-3 in combination with De Jong, author of the 0-2.
Surely Koeman It will not be enough for him to keep his position if he does not win the League. He has eight days left to try. It has been signed for another year and Laporta, although he praises and admires him, still does not ratify it in public. It doesn’t really matter that much. The affection of the fans, especially those who are not conditioned by what they read and hear, but only by what they see, has it forever.
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