Koeman Hails ‘Amazing’ FC Barcelona But Takes Dig At Successor Xavi And Accuses Messi Of Not Passing

Former FC Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has hailed Xavi Hernandez’s ‘amazing’ team, but also took a dig at his successor and accused Lionel Messi of not passing to certain teammates in comments made during an interview published this week.

A legendary midfielder himself like Xavi, Koeman will always be asked to pass comment on the club due to being a key member of Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’ in the early 90s and the scorer of the free kick at Wembley that won it their first Champions League crown against Sampdoria in 1992.

Given Koeman was fired and replaced by Xavi as head coach in late 2021 as well, his thoughts on Barca’s current form are always of interest to the footballing world.

Interviewed by ex-Netherlands star Andy van der Meijde, the current manager of the Dutch national team said his former side are “doing very well” as the leaders of La Liga while also having reached the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.

“Barca are doing very well. I saw Barcelona vs Real Madrid, they played incredible football. They were so good,” Koeman said, in reference to the Spanish Super Cup final the Catalans won 3-1 thanks to a sublime display from goalscorer Gavi.

In a dig at Xavi, however, he pointed out that 10-12 high-quality players have joined the club since his dismissal, which would have made his job “easier”.

“It all depends on the quality of the squad. During my time it was different,” Koeman stressed.

Koeman deserves credit for elevating the likes of Gavi and Pedri to the first team where they have been ever since. With regards to Pedri, he said that both he and Messi “knew he would be very good”.

Explaining that Messi immediately noticed Pedri’s qualities, he even accused the Argentine World Cup winner of purposely not passing to some teammates and instead waiting for Pedri to become available so as to keep possession.

Due to his rocky relationship with Joan Laporta, which he has touched on before, Koeman confirmed that he doesn’t see Barca much in action up close.

“After what happened with the president, I’m not going to Camp Nou these days,” he said.

While Koeman did indeed depart on bad terms, he would do well to try and mend fences with Laporta when the time is right.

Put simply, he means too much to Barca’s history to be frozen out of the club, and deserves credit not only for identifying talent in some of their best youngsters as said, but also being its spokesperson during one of its most challenging periods in memory and making the best of what he could.

Lest we forget that while Xavi’s record after 67 games is better than Koeman’s, the two playmakers are currently tied on one piece of silverware each after the Dutchman won the Copa del Rey in 2021 that proved to be the last trophy Messi lifted before departing to Paris Saint Germain.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomsanderson/2023/02/08/koeman-hails-amazing-fc-barcelona-but-takes-dig-at-successor-xavi-and-accuses-messi-of-not-passing/