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Koeman opens up on Barcelona humiliation on plane with players – “that hurt me”

The former Netherlands international team boss was sacked by Barcelona earlier this season after an alarming run of results but he has opened up on the pain caused by the manner of his sacking

Xavi unveiled as new Barcelona manager

Former Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has launched a stinging attack on the club following the manner of his sacking earlier this season.

Koeman was sacked at the end of October – following humbling league defeats against Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano respectively, continuing a slow start to the season. It was on the plane flight home from that loss at Rayo where club president Joan Laporta told him that he had been sacked.

Former Barca captain Xavi was appointed as his successor in another sign that Barca were returning to their past, just as they had done with the return of president Laporta in March last year. The Blaugrana’s season has improved in recent months following that coaching change and a busy January of investment.

Koeman has started to break his silence over the nature of his exit from the Camp Nou and earlier this month gave an extraordinary interview in which he accused the Barca president Laporta of continually misleading him.

The Dutch boss was appointed by Laporta’s predecessor in the role, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and he has opened up on his frosty relationship with the current Blaugrana president. He has continually alluded to his thought process that he was never likely to be retained by the club without huge on-pitch success.

Koeman has now criticised the manner of his sacking, which was decided by Laporta and his board of directors on the plane journey back from Rayo. The Dutch boss was then informed of the outcome before the plane touched down in Barcelona, with the first-team players being privy to the events unfolding.

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Koeman was sacked on the flight back to Barcelona from Madrid
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Image:

FC Barcelona)

The former Netherlands boss explained to Dutch programme Hoge Bomen, as per Diario AS : “How did Laporta sack me? On the plane. One thing that hurt me was that the players were sitting behind us, while I had to go sit next to him. He always says the same thing – that I am a club legend. He should prove it then!”

Koeman has previously claimed that Laporta continually denied that he would appoint Xavi to replace him, amid accusations that he was always likely to be sacked regardless of results on the pitch.

“He had told me a thousand times that Xavi would not be his coach, because he lacked experience,” the Dutchman added. “But he needed a shield, someone to hide behind. You won’t see me at the Camp Nou for a while, I can’t do that yet. With this president I cannot pretend that nothing happened.

Koeman was appointed by Joan Laporta’s predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu
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Image:

PABLO GARICA/RFEF/HO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

“I was not Laporta’s coach. I had that feeling from the first moment, after the elections there was no click between us. That necessary support from above that any coach needs was not there for me. The important thing was not money for me.”

Barca currently sit third in the standings in La Liga under Xavi, and are through to the Round of 16 of the Europa League.

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