Ronald Koeman slams Xavi’s work and FC Barcelona then speaks on De Jong sale

Ex-FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has criticized successor Xavi Hernandez’s work, the way he was treated by the club, and whether it will sell star midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

A Blaugrana icon himself as a member of Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’ of the early to mid-90s, Koeman took his dream job in the manager’s hotseat in 2020 but was fired just over a year later following a 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano.

This paved the way for another of the Catalans’ former midfield idols to try and command the team in Xavi, but after losing by the same scoreline to Rayo on Sunday at the Camp Nou, which was the first time Barca had slumped to three home defeats in a row since being founded in 1899, Xavi’s work is starting to be questioned.

At a press conference on Thursday to promote the Koeman Cup, Koeman passed comment on the topic too when prompted.

“When I left we were eight points [off the chase],” he said, as per the title race in La Liga at the time he was dismissed.

“Now it’s almost double,” Koeman pointed out, with Barca currently 15 points behind bitter rivals and champions-in-waiting Real Madrid at the summit.

“I did not have the support of the president,” Koeman also complained, adding that he hoped Xavi would as he is a “club legend”.

As per Frenkie de Jong, poor performances and interest from Manchester United are leading to rumors he could be moved on this summer, with the firing of Koeman listed as one of the motives for the 24-year-old’s downturn in morale and suffering in Catalonia.

According to Koeman, however, who knows the playmaker well from his days leading the Netherlands national team which he has now returned to lead, the Catalans don’t really want to offload their $80.5mn signing from Ajax.

“I don’t think Barca want to sell Frenkie,” Koeman firmly stated. “I think Xavi has said that he is the future.”

“Frenkie is a great player, a great midfielder. He goes through some games where he has not been at his level but there is no doubt about Frenkie,” Koeman went on.

“I have no doubts, for me he is a permanent fixture in the national team and I hope he comes back [to form] as he has played many games.”

“We put a player on top of everything and two weeks later we have to sell him,” Koeman lamented, before reiterating: “Frenkie is a great player.”

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