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Barcelona is changing managers and Ronald Koeman cannot say he didn’t see it coming after a stunning 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.
The wasteful Blaugranas couldn’t find the back of the net despite myriad chances as Radamel Falcao’s 30th-minute goal held up over the final hour at the Estadio de Vallacas.
“Barcelona has relieved Ronald Koeman of his duties as first team coach,” the club said in a statement. “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.
“FC Barcelona wishes to thank him for his service to the Club and wishes him all the best in his professional career.”
Who’s next for Barca? Xavi Hernandez has had his name constantly mentioned in recent years but anyone without built-in good will like the club legend is in a bit of a quandary. Other club heroes are well-employed elsewhere, and Antonio Conte isn’t going to climb into this hot seat with a team not ready to win.
Barcelona is not going to win La Liga this season. The club is not in the vicinity of its average teams, let alone the legendary sides that Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta led to glory in Europe.
So anyone taking this gig is going to see his name attached to unusual losses overseeing a team with some magnificent but very young talent. Pedri, Gavi, and Ansu Fati are all wonderful but super young.
The cupboard is not completely bare, with Frenkie de Jong, Gerard Pique, Sergio Aguero (for now), and Memphis Depay, but Barca is far from contending for much of anything and the money to sign megastars is slim.
More importantly for USMNT fans, this is a brand new boss who will assess Sergino Dest. Will the American keep his place? Dest has done some good things for Barca but also could’ve kept Koeman in a job by doing better here:
Ronald Koeman fired by Barcelona after loss to Rayo Vallecano originally appeared on NBCSports.com