Dutch manager has a big task to move out some massive names and must be quick to stamp his authority on the club
“If nothing goes awry, the new manager will be Ronald Koeman,” Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, said, and this time at least nothing did go awry. That was Tuesday night; on Wednesday morning it was confirmed, two days after the sacking of Quique Setién, one after the departure of Eric Abidal as sporting director. “Welcome home!” cheered the announcement, the club’s website calling him “one of us”.
This was “the return of a blaugrana legend”, whose first task is to get rid of many others. Men even more successful than him. “It is time to offer an honourable farewell to legendary players,” Bartomeu had said, their illustrious identities revealed by their absence on his list of “untransferables”. First, though, it is time to welcome one in. A video showed Koeman’s 10 best strikes for Barcelona. There were a lot to choose from, although he never scored a goal more important than the free-kick that gave Barcelona their first European Cup in 1992 and nor did anyone else. Goodwill is guaranteed, for a while at least. “The hero of Wembley,” they call him. That and Tintin.