Ronald Koeman’s future as Barcelona manager still unclear as president Joan Laporta says they will meet for more showdown talks next week… as he remains cagey on whether he wants to bring Pep Guardiola back but offers positive Lionel Messi update
- Joan Laporta has given his first press conference since returning to Barcelona
- President confirmed talks over manager Ronald Koeman’s future are next week
- Rumours have swirled that Laporta wants to replace Dutch coach this summer
- He refused to talk about any ambition to bring Pep Guardiola back to the club
- Laporta is positive that Lionel Messi will sign a new contract with Barcelona
Ronald Koeman’s future as Barcelona manager remains up in the air after president Joan Laporta said the pair will discuss the situation again next week.
There has been speculation that Laporta, who returned to the presidency in March, wishes to dispense with the Dutch manager and appoint someone else.
It has led to rumours that he will try and lure Pep Guardiola back to the Nou Camp from Manchester City.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has delivered an update on Ronald Koeman’s future
Koeman emerges from a meeting with Laporta on Tuesday with more talks planned next week
Giving his first press conference on Friday since being voted in to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu, Laporta was cagey on both topics but did confirm further talks with Koeman are imminent.
Koeman went to hospital in Barcelona on Thursday with reports suggesting he was in a ‘state of anxiety’.
His second season as manager saw Barcelona win the Copa del Rey but fall short in LaLiga, where they finished third behind champions Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. They were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Paris Saint-Germain.
Laporta said: ‘There are no transitional seasons at Barcelona. Due to the admiration we have for Koeman and the respect we have for him as a professional, we said that at the end of the season we would evaluate him.
‘We had a meeting and now we have set a date for next week to finalise the decision. He has one more year on his contract.
Rumours have abounded that Laporta wants to change Barcelona’s manager this summer
Rumours have suggested Laporta wants to bring Pep Guardiola – who delivered the Champions League to Barcelona twice – back to the Nou Camp
‘Yesterday he had an episode that saw him have to go to the hospital, but he is fine. I called him.
‘I want the understanding and acceptance of everyone involved in the project. I can tell Ronald what I think and vice versa; he can tell me, always with respect.
‘I have told him what I had to tell him: that we are evaluating and analysing the season.
‘We have a clear and direct relationship. He is a coach who was already there, he has one more year [left on his contract]’.
Asked directly about the prospect of Guardiola returning to the club, Laporta said: ‘The only thing in my head is I hope he wins the Champions League.
‘After winning it with us it would be amazing if he wins with Manchester City.’
Having led Man City to another Premier League title, Guardiola is now aiming to deliver their first Champions League win when they play Chelsea on Saturday night
Laporta was asked whether it was his dream to bring Guardiola back and replied: ‘I am not here to talk about my dreams, I am here to talk about reality.
‘I can’t tell you all of my thoughts, I can’t share everything.
‘We are talking to Koeman, he has a contract and he deserves respect. We have a project that is interesting to a lot of coaches.’
Laporta offered Barcelona fans hope that Lionel Messi will commit to the club with his contract due to expire this summer.
Laporta is positive that Lionel Messi will commit his future to Barcelona in the coming weeks
Laporta embraces Messi after Barcelona’s victory in the Copa del Rey final back in April
‘The Messi issue is going well, but it’s not done,’ he said.
‘Messi wants Barcelona very much. We are doing everything possible within our means.
‘Although we all know that he is a coveted player, we have the perception that, on both sides, we are preparing everything that is necessary, within the club’s means, for him to stay.’