Barcelona fires coach Ronald Koeman after a series of defeats after Messi

After another poor performance and another loss, Ronald Koeman couldn’t hold out any longer as Barcelona coach.It took less than three months after Lionel Messi’s departure for Koeman to finally succumb as the pressure continued to mount and the Catalan club’s struggles continued.

Barcelona announced the firing of Koeman shortly after the team’s 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish league on Wednesday.

The loss followed a 2-1 home loss to Real Madrid in the “Clásico” at Camp Nou on Sunday.

Koeman had said in a post-game interview on Wednesday that he did not know if his future with the club was at risk. He soon found out. The club’s president, Joan Laporta, informed the Dutch coach of his decision after the defeat.

Captain Sergio Busquets had said that Koeman shouldn’t be the only culprit for the team’s poor performances.

“We are all in the same boat,” the midfielder said after the game, before the decision on Koeman was announced.

Koeman has been under constant pressure after a poor start to the team’s first season without Messi in nearly two decades. The Argentine star joined Paris Saint-Germain in August.

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Barcelona said Koeman “will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday.”

Koeman leaves with the club in ninth position in the Spanish league standings with 15 points from 10 games.

Among the team’s five defeats this season are 3-0 results in the Champions League against Bayern Munich at home and at Benfica.

The loss to Rayo marked the team’s fifth away game without a win, something that had not happened to the club in nearly two decades.

Barcelona won five games and drew three this season with the Dutch manager who took over shortly after the team’s embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern in the Champions League last year. His only title with the Catalan club was the Copa del Rey last season.

In total, Koeman led Barcelona in 67 games in his 15 months at the helm, with 39 wins, 16 losses and 12 draws.

Barcelona finished third in the Spanish league last season and were eliminated by PSG in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

Koeman had publicly disagreed with Laporta, although the club had recently expressed support for the coach, even after he was harassed by a small group of fans outside the stadium after the home loss to Madrid last weekend.

Koeman had also upset some of his players after saying that Barcelona would not be competing realistically this season as they continued to deal with serious financial difficulties.

The club also lost Antoine Griezmann to Atlético de Madrid and relied mainly on young people who have been hastily promoted from their youth teams.

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The coach reportedly agreed to fire striker Luis Suárez after his arrival in an attempt to help the team financially. Suarez went on to help Atlético win the league title last season.

A replacement for Koeman was not immediately announced, but Spanish media reported that former player Xavi Hernández was the favorite to take over.

The team’s next game is on Saturday at home against Alavés, threatened by relegation, in the Spanish league.

(AP)

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