FC Barcelona

Ronald Koeman insists Joan Laporta never wanted Xavi as Barcelona manager

Tom Gott
Koeman has hit out at Laporta's actions
Koeman has hit out at Laporta's actions / Denis Doyle/GettyImages

Former Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has claimed he was repeatedly assured by president Joan Laporta that Xavi was never a real threat to his job, five months after he was replaced by the former midfielder.

Koeman's future was a regular topic of debate in the Spanish press and Xavi was long touted as the club's preferred manager, with some suggesting that the Dutchman was just a stop-gap coach until Xavi was ready to join.

Koeman clearly believes that to be the case, but he told Algemeen Dagblad that Laporta repeatedly claimed he was not interested in hiring Xavi to replace him.

"I was not Laporta's coach," Koeman said. "I had that feeling as soon as I laid eyes on him, after the elections, we just didn't click. That necessary support from above was lacking.

"The important thing for me was not the money. I just wanted to succeed as a manager at Barcelona, to do everything I could, but I realised that Laporta wanted to get rid of me because I wasn't appointed by him."

He continued: "Laporta told me 1,000 times that Xavi would not be his coach, because he lacked experience."

The Dutchman also lamented seeing Xavi given the chance to work with a full-strength Barcelona squad and felt he was not given enough credit for working through a severe injury crisis earlier this season.

"They didn't give me the time they have given the new manager, Xavi," he added. "It's still painful for me.

"I was working with a lot of injuries. Now Pedri is back in shape, and Ousmane Dembele... you can see everything coming together.

"Every coach needs time and patience from the board. I would have loved those signings, too [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres, Dani Alves and Adama Traore]. But I'm happy for the club, since things are going better now and for the players. It's nice to see Frenkie de Jong play good, old-fashioned football. He has such quality."