clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Junior Firpo: Ronald Koeman told me I was ‘contaminating the group’ at Barcelona

The defender ‘stopped trying’ after that

FC Barcelona v Osasuna - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Junior Firpo has opened up on his time at Barcelona and made it pretty clear he didn’t enjoy working under boss Ronald Koeman.

Firpo signed from Real Betis in 2019 but failed to live up to expectations and was shipped off to Leeds United after just 41 appearances in 2021.

The full-back has spoken of his time at the club and revealed some off-field struggles, as his newborn son had health issues, as well as being bombarded by negative message on social media.

Firpo also says that Koeman didn’t make life for him easy either.

“I think Koeman didn’t know me very well,” he told Relevo.

“He was the first one who told me to stay, but that didn’t turn into reality later. I remember one time when Jordi Alba was injured, and he put Dest at left back.

“The minutes he gave me they were on the right… I had few. I had several games in which I played well, but I didn’t have continuity. Then, a month without playing. I didn’t understand that: at the worst moment, I take you out; if the game goes well or I can rotate, I don’t put you on.

“At first I was looking for explanations for this low participation, but Koeman gave me an answer in which he was not being honest: he told me that I was contaminating the group, so I stopped trying.”

The defender does have some happy memories of Barcelona though, he spoke about the time he came up against Kylian Mbappe and PSG.

“The Mbappe thing was a crazy start. He came from a first game where he scored a hat-trick and that day also started very well [he scored 1-0],” he added. “They put me on in the 30th minute and with almost no warm-up, we had to try to even the tie. In training they saw that I was very competitive one on one. And he put the entire field against Mbappe. It went well, probably my best game, although they ended up eliminating us.”

Firpo is still at Leeds for now, although he has been linked with a move away following their relegation to the Championship.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes