You have to feel for Ronald Koeman.
A man that has clearly always had a soft spot for the Blaugranes since his playing days, but gets his chance to steer the club back to the top only in its hour of extreme crisis.
Moreover, with the knowledge that in all likelihood he will only be in the position for one season.
To that end, I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to the Dutchman.
He simply didn’t need to leave the Netherlands national team. He was overseeing a new era of great Dutch football with generational talents in his side, and yet he’s bravely made the move to step aside and dive headfirst into the fire pit.
It’s fairly clear that Koeman has to hit the ground running in all aspects of the job of course.
He must get results, he must play the style of football which he himself enjoyed under Johan Cruyff, and he must bruise a few egos in the dressing room if that’s what it takes to garner the respect of the squad.
In terms of silverware from a managerial standpoint, we need to go back to the 2006/07 season for his last league title win; the Eredivisie with PSV. A Copa del Rey triumph at Valencia followed shortly afterwards.
A couple of earlier league wins with Ajax notwithstanding, it’s true that the Dutchman doesn’t have much on his CV by way of trophies won as a manager.
That might well be a worry for culers who are looking to Koeman as some sort of Messiah that will change the status quo with a click of his fingers.
Frankly, if he only has 12 months, everyone should be more than happy if he can get the team back to playing how they were a few years ago. Period.
Xavi, if he arrives this time next year as expected should Victor Font win the presidential elections, will therefore have a much stronger platform to work from if that’s the case.
Perhaps the most urgent element of Koeman’s job is to rid the dressing room of any notion that the players are in charge.
Does he have the strength of character to bench or even sell those players who have been alleged to dictate how the make up of the starting XIs should be for particular games and otherwise?
How will he fare if Messi blows up as he did with Luis Enrique back in 2015?
My gut feeling is that he’ll stand his ground and earn the respect that he should have by right, given his own playing career at the club.
I don’t believe we’ve anything to fear with Koeman in charge, and potentially there is much to be gained.