In an unexpected show of unity, FC Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman and club president Joan Laporta shared the exact same message ahead of Thursday’s La Liga match against Cadiz. Both men rallied fans to support the team and asked for their patience.
Koeman faced members of the media in a pre-match press conference where he read out a short statement. In an unusual move, he walked out before giving the press time to roast him with questions about his future and the club’s recent disappointing results.
Speculations have risen that Koeman might be sacked if Barcelona fail to secure a victory on Thursday, but both Laporta and the Dutchman called for patience amid the club’s rebuilding process in the post-Messi era.
“The club is with me in a situation of rebuilding. The economic situation is linked to the situation on the pitch,” said Koeman, referring to the club’s financial crisis that has been in the headlines throughout the past year.
“We as a staff have to rebuild the team without making big investments and that takes time,” he added. This rings true of course, as seen during the recently concluded summer transfer window. The Blaugrana were forced to let go of Messi as well as Antoine Griezmann while acquiring players mostly on free transfers. They also let go of a handful of other players who may have been useful, in an attempt to slash their over inflated wage bill.
“The young talents can be world stars in a couple of years. The youngsters will have opportunities, like Xavi [Hernandez] and [Andres] Iniesta had, but patience is required,” he said, while calling on fans to have realistic expectations when it comes to results this season.
“To finish high in the league table would be a success. In the Champions League, no miracles can be expected. The defeat against Bayern [Munich] must be seen in that light.”
In conclusion, he went along the same lines as Laporta, who released a statement of his own earlier this week. Both men urged fans and members of the media to continue backing the players who are fighting for the badge on the pitch. “The team must be supported, in words and actions. I know that the press recognises this process, it is not the first time in history that this has happened. We count on your support in these decisive times. We are very, very happy with the support of the fans, as was the case against Granada. Come on, Barcelona!”
Fans have been on the edge and impatient for results after having been let down over the transfer window. Laporta had assured club members that he will find a way to keep Messi, but the deal did not materialise due to the club’s financial situation.
As such, fans are smarting from what is seen as a betrayal by the president, who failed to deliver on his promise. They want to see results soon, and a 3-0 loss against Bayern Munich hit a raw nerve with the memory of last season’s 8-2 thrashing still fresh in their minds.