Victor Font has confirmed that he will fire Ronald Koeman if victorious at the polls.
Koeman signed yesterday to become the new head coach of FC Barcelona, but already his position is under threat.
There had been rumors of such a stance, but in this morning’s edition of SPORT, an exclusive interview with presidential candidate Victor Font sees him confirm that if he is victorious at the polls in March to succeed Josep Bartomeu, Koeman’s days are numbered and close ally Xavi Hernandez will replace him.
“The change of coach does not solve the sporting, institutional and economic crises that FC Barcelona is experiencing. It is essential and imperative to make a clean slate,” insisted Font.
Reminded that in Koeman he was discussing a Blaugrana legend, who scored the winning goal at Wembley in Barça’s first-ever Champions League triumph in 1992, Font said: “That’s true, it is, and we have to thank Ronald that, given the complex situation we live in, he is willing to assume this responsibility. I wish him well. He has personality, he comes from the Dream Team and has drunk [from the same chalice as] from Cruyff.”
“But he wouldn’t be your coach if you won the election?” Font was asked to confirm.
“I have read headlines out there where it has been put in my mouth that even if he won the treble next season he will not be my coach. You have to put that phrase in context,” Font began to explain.
“We believe that the club’s project for the next ten years is not built solely around a name. The Barça coach is a very important figure, yes, but he is just one more piece in a more complete and complex [mechanism]. In order for us to have maximum success in the next decade, we need to implement a sporting project that goes from the sports vice presidency to the coach of the youngest [youth team] – a solid structure.”
“Hopefully, and I mean it from my heart, Koeman and Barça can win the treble,” Font stressed. “Xavi, in charge of the project [when Font is elected], will surely know how to find a place for Koeman’s talent.”
Asked if he was afraid that Lionel Messi could turn his back on his boyhood club, amid the various disappointments and scandals that engulf a fading superpower, Font said: “I think there is a latent risk and it gives me nightmares. Messi is the most important player in the history of the club and [plans need to] go beyond when Messi retires. The Messi-Barça association has to go further than when he hangs his boots up. He must be the reference image of the club and its worldwide growth.”
Though Koeman deserves credit for not getting his feathers ruffled over things out of his control, it would appear he is a marked man before even leading FC Barcelona’s battered and bruised squad for their first training session on his watch.