• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Five things to know about Ronald Koeman, Barcelona’s new coach

Ronald Koeman-Barcelona manager

Barcelona have moved quickly to replace Quique Setien as coach, announcing the hiring of Ronald Koeman on a two-year contract.

The 57-year-old Dutchman knows the club very, very well, having spent six years as a player at the Camp Nou between 1989-1995 – during which time he became an integral part of Johan Cruyff’s so-called ‘Dream Team’.

Koeman also worked as an assistant coach under Louis van Gaal at the end of the 1990s after he’d hung up his boots.

Koeman , is a multiple champion as a player, the Dutchman returns to the LaLiga club 25 years after making history in the 1990s. Koeman scored the winning goal in the 1992 European Cup final, when Barcelona became champions of Europe for the first time, and now returns to the Camp Nou almost thirty years later as coach.

For Barcelona fans, there is one clear Koeman moment that stands out: his freekick in extra time of the 1992 European Cup final, when the Blaugrana defeated Sampdoria at Wembley for their first ever triumph in the continental competition. Barcelona now have five European Cups to their name, but the first one was extra special. “It’s simply amazing to score the decisive goal in a European Cup final,” Koeman told the media in the aftermath of that win.

Here are five amassing facts about Koeman:

Key part of Barcelona’s famous ‘Dream Team’

Ronald Koeman began his playing career in the early 1980s for Groningen in the Netherlands. Then he went through the biggest clubs in his native country, until he caught the attention of his compatriot Johan Cruyff, who coached FC Barcelona. He moved to the Catalan club in 1989 and together they put Barça back on the map – Koeman now has a similar mission. There, he ended the club’s long-time wait for glory, winning four consecutive LaLiga titles between 1991 and 1994, in addition to the Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cups and the European Cup. His extra-time goal in the 1992 win over Sampdoria at Wembley ended Barça’s decades-long wait for the European title.

The top scoring defender in history

Speaking of goals, no defender has scored more goals in history than Ronald Koeman, who netted a whopping 250 times in 759 games. For FC Barcelona, despite playing as central defender, he managed the incredible mark of 87 goals in 264 LaLiga games. The most important of his goals was, without a doubt, the strike which handed the team its first European Cup title in 1992. He was also top scorer in the 1993/94 tournament with eight goals in 12 games, but he and the side fell short in the final, losing to AC Milan. Koeman also held the record for most free-kick goals for Barcelona (25) until he was overtaken than Lionel Messi (who else?).

Played for the Dutch ‘Big Three’

Koeman is one of the few to have played for each of his country’s three major rivals. He first won the Eredivisie title with Ajax (1984/85), before moving on to PSV Eindhoven where he picked up a further three league titles and his first European Cup in 1988. There he also won his first individual awards, being named the top player in the Dutch league on two occasions. After his illustrious spell in Barcelona, he returned to his homeland with Feyenoord, where he ended his career in 1997. Despite this domestic success, the club he remains most closely associated with around the world is Barcelona.

Has Coached almost all his former Clubs

His appointment as Barcelona coach leaves Groningen as the only club he played for that he is yet to coach. After retiring in 1997, Koeman kicked off his career in 2000 with former side Vitesse. From there he went on to Ajax, where he picked up two more Eredivisie titles, a Dutch Cup and Super Cup; to PSV, adding a Dutch Cup to his silverware collection; and then Feyenoord. He also managed the Dutch national team, – who he led to the postponed Euro 2020 tournament – a position he left this week to return to Barcelona.

His brother was also a player and Coach

Ronald has an older brother, Erwin Koeman, who also started his playing career at Groningen a year earlier. Erwin, a midfielder, spent most of his career in his home country, leaving only to cross the border into Belgium where he played at Mechelen for five seasons. He made his name at Groningen, for whom he played across three different spells, and also played for PSV across two spells, winning three Dutch Cups.

The Koeman brothers never played together at club level but were both part of the Dutch national team which won Euro 1988. He has also forayed into coaching after retirement, managing the likes of Feyenoord and Utrecht at home, and Fenerbahce, Hungary and Oman abroad.