Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Sergi Barjuan Appointed As Interim Barcelona Head Coach

Barcelona have confirmed the appointment of Sergi Barjuan as interim head coach following the sacking of Ronald Koeman.

The Dutchman was relieved of his duties after Barça slipped to a calamitous 1-0 defeat to Rayo Vallecano; a result that leaves the Catalan giants a lowly ninth in La Liga.

Talks are at an advanced stage with former midfield talisman Xavi about succeeding Koeman on a permanent basis, but his release from current employers Al-Sadd is unlikely to be immediate.

That’s led Barça to announce that Barjuan will take the reins for now, and they issued the following statement on their official website:

“FC Barcelona hereby announces that Sergi Barjuan, the current coach of Barça B, shall be taking provisional charge of the technical management of the senior squad. His interim position as a first-team head coach shall end as soon as the club has hired full-time head coach to replace the dismissed Ronald Koeman.

“FC Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, shall be officially introducing Sergi Barjuan to the first team squad this afternoon before the training session at the Ciutat Esportiva.

“Sergi Barjuan will be attending to the media tomorrow Thursday from 1.00 pm CEST in the press room at the Ciutat Esportiva to discuss the game against Alavés, with president Joan Laporta also appearing.”

Who is Sergi Barjuan?

Barjuan was appointed Barcelona B manager in June 2021, signing a two-year contract, but his association with the club dates back to a length spell as a player.

Between 1993 and 2002, Barjuan made 267 La Liga appearances for the club, having graduated through the club’s academy. He then concluded his playing career with a three-year spell at Atletico Madrid, before returning to Camp Nou as a youth coach in 2009.

He’s subsequently enjoyed spells as manager of as Almeria, Mallorca and Zhejiang Professional of China, before returning to Catalonia over the summer.

Why has Barjuan been appointed interim head coach?

Barcelona are still ironing out the final details of their proposed agreement with Xavi.

A long-term target for the club, the legendary former midfielder needs to be released from his contract by Qatari side Al-Sadd – so Barcelona must agree to compensation terms before he can return to Camp Nou.

Reports in Spain suggest personal terms are already agreed, while it is understood that his first game in the dugout could be the derby clash with Espanyol on 20 November.

Why was Koeman sacked?

Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman finally lost his job after intense speculation and pressure / Denis Doyle/GettyImages

It was perhaps no surprise to see Ronald Koeman lose his job after weeks of mounting pressure.

The Dutchman has been under the microscope throughout his tenure, but the last few months have pushed him to the limit. Lionel Messi and a host of other big names have been forced to leave because Barcelona are in crippling financial debt, leaving Koeman to manage a depleted and very inexperienced side.

That said, Barcelona still have a number of quality players among their ranks, but Koeman has been unable to get the best out of his players. La Blaugrana are only just in the top half of the table, and have been humiliated by both Bayern Munich and Benfica in the Champions League this season.

What was Koeman’s record at Barcelona?

Carlo Ancelotti, Ronald Koeman

Koeman lost out to Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid in the most recent Clasico / LLUIS GENE/GettyImages

Koeman succeeded Quique Setien in the Barcelona hot seat, knowing he had a rather big job on his hands.

Barça had just embarrassed 8-2 in the latter stages of the 2019/20 Champions League, and Koeman was tasked with turning things around and delivering silverware.

He did win the Copa del Rey last season, but results were generally mixed – indeed, Barcelona were not successful in La Liga and lost out on the title to Atletico Madrid.

Koeman was in charge for 67 games, winning just 40 at a win percentage of just 59.7%, and oversaw 11 draws and 16 defeats.

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