Barcelona’s newest boss, Ronald Koeman, has long been linked with the job.
When Tata Martino left as Barcelona manager, he was mentioned as a possible replacement. Ultimately, Luis Enrique was picked. When Luis Enrique left, Koeman’s name was mentioned. But the club went with Ernesto Valverde. And when Valverde was sacked, Koeman was very heavily linked. Apparently, he turned down the offer to coach the Catalans. Instead, the job went to Quique Setién. And then, of course, Koeman was hired after Setién’s sacking.
And there was a long time where Barcelona actually came very close to signing Koeman.
In 2003, the club elected Joan Laporta as president. Laporta wanted to get Koeman, then successfully managing Ajax, to be his coach. But, Ajax didn’t want to let him go. Apparently, the clubs never came to an agreement.
“It’s true that Laporta tried signing me to Barça in 2003 but they couldn’t come to a deal with Ajax and went on to sign Frank Rijkaard. It’s true that things could have been different for me and Barça,” Koeman once recalled.
Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League with Rijkaard at the helm in 2006.
Koeman went a different path to get to the Barcelona coaching job.
In the same interview, Koeman expressed his dream to manage Barcelona one day. The team at that point (2015) had just won the Champions League under Luis Enrique.
“I’d pay to train those players,” Koeman said at the time.
”It’d be great to have them in your squad. You don’t really have to teach them much. They know exactly what they have to do. You just have to get them to play together and respect each other, and that’s what Luis Enrique has achieved”.