Ronald Koeman could not turn down the chance to coach Barcelona a second time, although he feels sorry for the Netherlands.
Ronald Koeman accepts his imminent move to Barcelona has come at an awkward time for the Netherlands.
The former Barca defender is expected to be confirmed as head coach on Tuesday, a day after Quique Setien was sacked in the wake of the humiliating 8-2 Champions League quarter-final defeat to Bayern Munich. Koeman turned down the job after Ernesto Valverde was dismissed in January as he was committed to taking Oranje through the Euro 2020 finals.
However, that tournament has been pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and Koeman’s personal circumstances have also shifted, the 57-year-old having had heart surgery in May after suffering chest pains. The former Everton boss has therefore decided to accept the chance to return to Camp Nou, although he is sorry to have caused any problems for the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB).
“I can’t say anything until it’s been signed. It could well be done today,” he told Fox Sports on Tuesday. “I didn’t expect it to go so quickly. It’s always awkward in terms of timing. It’s a lot to take in, but Barcelona are the only club for whom I had a release clause in my contract. It’s a bit rough on the KNVB, but not unexpected.”
Koeman spent six years with Barca as a player during the fabled ‘Dream Team’ era under Johan Cruyff. He won 10 trophies, including four LaLiga titles and the European Cup of 1992, scoring the winner against Sampdoria at Wembley to secure Barca’s first triumph in the competition.