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Ronald Koeman hits out at Laporta and questions Messi’s Barcelona exit

The Dutchman speaks out about his time in charge

Rayo Vallecano v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman has been talking about his departure from Barcelona and says he did not feel supported by president Joan Laporta and also questioned the club’s decision to allow Lionel Messi to leave.

The Dutchman was sacked in November 2021 after 14 months in charge following a defeat to Rayo Vallecano that left the team down in ninth place in La Liga.

Club legend Xavi was subsequently appointed to replace Koeman who has told Danish newspaper Algemeen Dagblad that he thinks he wasn’t given enough time at the Camp Nou.

“They didn’t give me the time they gave the new coach, Xavi. It’s still painful for me,” he said. “I was working with a lot of injuries. Now Pedri is back in shape, and Ousmane Dembélé ... You can see everything.

“Laporta told me a thousand times that Xavi would not be his coach, because he lacked experience. I was not Laporta’s coach. I had that feeling from the first moment, after the elections there was no click. That necessary support from above was lacking.

“The important thing was not money for me. I really wanted to succeed as a coach at Barcelona, ​​to do everything I could, but I realized that Laporta wanted to get rid of me because I wasn’t appointed by him.”

Koeman also went on to speak about Messi’s departure and admits he finds it strange the Argentine left in the summer, after the club said it could not afford to renew his contract, but then splashed out €55 million on Ferran Torres in January.

“It was at the insistence of the club management that I agreed to the departure of some players to put the finances in order. But then when you see that they attract someone for 55 million euros shortly after letting Lionel Messi go…Then you wonder if there wasn’t something else going on. Why did Messi have to leave?”

Xavi’s Barcelona have improved over recent months. The team have risen to fourth in the table, just a point behind Real Betis with a game in hand, and have not lost in the Spanish top flight since the start of December.