‘The president has always shown me his support’: Ronald Koeman says he does not plan to leave Barcelona with his team firmly in contention to win LaLiga after a rocky start to the season
- Barcelona were sixth at the end of 2020 with just seven wins in 15 league games
- They have since taken 43 points from a possible 48 to move into title contention
- Ronald Koeman is confident he will be in charge next term after the turnaround
- Koeman can take credit for Lionel Messi’s return to his electrifying best in 2021
- Messi has 23 goals so far this year, including two in the Copa del Rey Final win
- Barca face Unai Emery’s Villarreal on Sunday as they aim to leapfrog Real Madrid
Ronald Koeman says he has no plans to quit Barcelona as he looks to see out his contract at the Nou Camp.
The Dutchman succeeded Quique Setien last August following the disastrous 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich and after a tough start that saw his new side win just seven of their first 15 LaLiga games of the campaign to sit sixth, Barca have rallied since the turn of the year, picking up 43 points out of a possible 48 to haul themselves up to third and 68 points, five behind leaders Atletico Madrid with a game in hand.
Koeman also picked up his first piece of silverware last weekend when Barcelona thrashed Athletic Bilbao 4-0 to win the Copa del Rey and speaking to the media before Sunday’s pivotal clash against Villarreal, the 58-year-old was confident about his future, with his current deal running out in the summer of 2022.
Ronald Koeman has overseen a big improvement at Barcelona after a poor start to the season
The team won just seven of their first 15 league games but have won 14 out of 16 since then
Lionel Messi inspired Barca to their first trophy of the season last weekend in the Copa del Rey
‘The president (Joan Laporta) has always shown me his support and trust and until I say otherwise, I see myself as a coach for next season,’ he told reporters. ‘I have a contract, but if the club do not want me, then we have to talk.’
The one major blot on Koeman’s copybook was the Champions League exit to a Kylian Mbappe-inspired Paris Saint-Germain side last month – with the defeat to Bilbao in the Supercopa de Espana Final in January a more minor disappointment – but the former Southampton and Everton boss deserves credit for getting Barcelona’s attack purring, as well as overseeing Lionel Messi’s return to form.
The six-time World Player of the Year looked out of sorts early on this season following a summer in which he had threatened to leave the club before agreeing to see out the last year of his current contract.
Koeman’s only real failure so far has been the Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain
Messi’s electrifying return to form in 2021 has put Koeman’s men in contention to win LaLiga
However, he has hit an incredible 23 goals so far in 2021, including doubles against Athletic Bilbao, Granada, Alaves, Elche, Huesca, Real Sociedad, Bilbao again in the Copa del Rey Final and, lastly, against Getafe on Thursday in a 5-2 triumph.
Messi’s return to form has seen Barcelona net a staggering 63 goals in 24 games this year across all competitions and if they can show a similarly clinical edge against Unai Emery’s side this evening, Koeman’s men will move above Real Madrid on goal difference after Los Blancos were held to a goalless draw against Real Betis on Saturday.
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