La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has been backed by Rivaldo, one of the club’s former stars, who claims others should share the blame when it comes to their poor run of form. Speculation continues to swirl on whether Koeman will be sacked, when it may happen and who could come in to replace him at the Camp Nou.
Recent losses to Bayern Munich, Benfica and Atletico Madrid, as well as humiliating draws at Granada and Cadiz have left the Dutchman in a precarious situation.
The manner in which they suffered those results was also concerning, with their style of play a far cry from glory days under the likes of Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique.
It seemed certain that the club would part ways with Koeman in recent weeks as BBC Sport claimed his sacking was ‘a matter of time’, although no decisive action has been taken yet.
Brazilian superstar Rivaldo, who won the Balon D’or while at Barcelona in 1999 and scored 129 goals for the club, has now thrown his opinion into the mix.
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“Barcelona are going through a difficult patch but I still think that the club has players good enough to perform better and turn around the current situation,” he told Betfair.
“Some of those players were previously complaining about their lack of opportunities in the team.
“Well now they have their chance to prove why they deserved the club’s confidence and why it wasn’t a mistake to sign them.
“These players must step up in tough times. We cannot keep just criticizing the manager Ronald Koeman. He isn’t the only one responsible for the situation.
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“It’s a bit unfair to only put all the pressure on Koeman’s shoulders when he was so brave in taking the job in such a tough moment.”
Indeed, there are plenty of things going on behind the scenes which make Koeman’s job even harder, namely the fact the club are in over £1billion worth of debt.
Results and performances are still undoubtedly concerning, however, and many expect to see a managerial switch during the international break.
The lack of a replacement was thought to be key in Koeman maintaining his position for now, but that could all change now that Roberto Martinez’s Belgium side crashed out of the Nations League to France on Thursday night.
Martinez is considered one of the front-runners for the job, while Xavi and Andrea Pirlo have also been mentioned.
Still, the point remains that Barca is an unbelievably tricky place to be at the moment, and any incoming boss would effectively be walking into the lion’s den.
The question of whether a new manager could do better will be weighing on President Joan Laporta’s mind, and he is yet to take the leap of faith.
For now at least, Koeman will continue to take the brunt of the criticism.
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