Barcelona? If they come, they come – Koeman addresses Camp Nou speculation

By Sports Desk December 05, 2019

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman dismissed speculation linking him to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Koeman has emerged as a possible option for Barca should Ernesto Valverde leave, with the Dutchman's Netherlands contract containing a clause that would allow him to depart for Camp Nou following Euro 2020.

The 56-year-old spent six years at Barca as a player before later having a spell as Louis van Gaal's assistant from 1998 to 2000.

Koeman, however, is focused on his job with the Netherlands ahead of next year's European Championship.

"I have two more years left on my contract with the [Dutch] national team and I do not like to talk about Barcelona," Koeman said at an event in Barcelona.

"It's uncomfortable for a lot of reasons; I currently have a job and it's not fair to talk about this.

"If they come, they come; and if they don't, they don't. There are more important things [to worry about] in life."

The Netherlands are in Group C for Euro 2020, alongside Ukraine, Austria and a play-off winner.

Koeman's side will open their campaign at home to Ukraine in Amsterdam on June 14.

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  • De Jong: Barcelona have a lot of problems after Champions League mauling De Jong: Barcelona have a lot of problems after Champions League mauling

    Frenkie de Jong said Barcelona's embarrassing 8-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich showed the beleaguered LaLiga giants have a lot of problems.

    Barca conceded eight goals in a game for the first time since 1946 as the Spanish powerhouse were mercilessly put to the sword by Bundesliga champions Bayern in Lisbon on Friday.

    Bayern raced out to a 4-1 lead at half-time and they did not take their foot off the pedal following the interval – Barca eliminated in the Champions League quarter-finals for the fourth time in five seasons.

    With Barca in crisis after the result and head coach Quique Setien reportedly set to be sacked, star midfielder De Jong addressed the result.

    "I think today showed that we have a lot of problems in the team," De Jong, in his first season at Camp Nou following his high-profile arrival from Ajax, said. "I think tonight showed that and we know we have to make a lot of changes.

    "It's difficult for the fans to take too so sorry to them. We have to change a lot of things I think.

    "We believed we could beat Bayern. The first 15-20 minutes because they scored early but we scored the equaliser and had two good chances so believed in it of course. You could see that at the beginning.

    "But they were much better than us. I don't think it's too much about talent, I think it's about putting in intensity and hard work and we need to change these things.

    "Of course it's a big disappointment but not only for me, for the whole club because this club is used to winning trophies. It's the biggest club in the world so we have to perform a lot better than we did tonight."

    Asked if anyone can stop Bayern – who will face either Manchester City or Lyon in the semis – Netherlands international De Jong replied: "I think City are also a really good team. Lyon are good.

    "But...I don't care too much at this moment. I'm sorry but they were really good tonight and deserved to win of course."

  • Bayern boss Flick staying grounded after humiliating Messi's Barca en route to semis Bayern boss Flick staying grounded after humiliating Messi's Barca en route to semis

    Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick refused to get carried away with his team's stunning 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals, insisting there is still plenty of work to do.

    Bayern humiliated Lionel Messi's Barca in Lisbon on Friday as the LaLiga giants conceded eight goals in a game for the first time since 1946.

    Flick's Bayern – who led 4-1 at half-time – ran riot thanks to braces from Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho, while Robert Lewandowski, Ivan Perisic, Serge Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich were also on target.

    Bayern became the first team in Champions League history to score eight goals in a knockout match, and the first in the European Cup since Real Madrid in 1990-91.

    Flick, however, remained grounded post-match as Bundesliga champions Bayern await either Manchester City or Lyon in the final four.

    "I think we can enjoy an excellent game from our team today," Flick told reporters. "Of course we are delighted with the way in which we have achieved this 8:2.

    "But we all know - and you could feel it in the cabin - that we still have a lot to do. We know how fast that can happen in football. It is important to look ahead to the next game.

    "Our goal was to get to the semi-finals. We did that impressively. We are all very happy about that. But we also know that it is still a tough job to be where we want to be in the end."

    "The way it was is impressive," he added. "And we have set a small fragrance brand. But even our experienced players know that it's about performing the same in the next game. We are preparing for this.

    "The team put a lot of pressure on in the first half, forcing their opponents to make mistakes, and then the game of switching over the ball was just great. These are the things we wanted to do. And the team did a great job on the pitch."

  • Barcelona search for answers as Lisbon rout begs questions about Setien, Messi and a Camp Nou crisis Barcelona search for answers as Lisbon rout begs questions about Setien, Messi and a Camp Nou crisis

    It was the darkest of nights for Barcelona in Lisbon's Stadium of Light.

    How wonderfully merciless Bayern Munich were, as indulgent in their fondness for goals and insatiable in their will to humiliate the opposition as that great Germany side that humbled Brazil 7-1 at the 2014 World Cup.

    But for Barcelona, the shame, the recklessness of it, the lack of spine. These footballing invertebrates will return to Catalonia not to fanfare but in disgrace.

    They were possibly due a comeuppance, and here it was writ large.

    "A humiliation for history" said the Spanish newspaper Marca on its website at full-time. The Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo said it was an "historic debacle".

    That scoreline. 8-2. Eight-two. Barcelona shipped eight goals. Everywhere you looked, history was mentioned.

    This team surely is history, and as for the coach... Quique Setien must know what comes next.

    You needed no hyperbole on this evening. Barcelona were atrocious and the scoreline perfectly reflected that. Bayern were not flattered by eight.

    So if Barcelona's great rivals Real Madrid were hurting after defeat to Manchester City, how that must have suddenly eased.

    No wonder defender Gerard Pique said he and every Barcelona player felt "pain". No wonder he suggested "changes" are required.

    What changes though? Not for the first time on Friday evening, Pique couldn't find a substantial answer.

    He was right though: it was "shameful" and Barcelona do need "changes at all levels", as he told Movistar, albeit without explicitly suggesting just who should be changed.

    Sacking Setien seems inevitable but may solve very little, and it feels harsh to make him the scapegoat for this implosion.

    In seven months at Camp Nou, the 61-year-old former Real Betis boss has seen Barcelona's players frequently let the club down, and any incoming coach may do well to sound him out on their first day.

    The club have a €671million sport salary limit. Never mind 'Mes que un club', that's 'Mes que the GDP of Tonga', among other nations, and Barcelona are frittering it away. Antoine Griezmann apparently played the second half of this game.

    Al-Sadd head coach Xavi has been dropping none-too-subtle hints that he might be ready for the Barcelona hotseat, but it will take more than a big name, albeit of a man steeped in Blaugrana tradition, to transform this creaking club.

    Presidential elections are coming next year, but can Barcelona totter on until then in this state.

    Josep Maria Bartomeu, the incumbent president, has warned that Barcelona stand to see their income drop by hundreds of millions due to the pandemic, so if money cannot be the answer this time, what can?

    The way Barcelona let a so-so Real Madrid side sprint by them to take the LaLiga title once lockdown ended was worrying enough, but everywhere you look there are mistakes being made.

    Even Marc-Andre ter Stegen, their often impressive goalkeeper, was a calamity against Bayern.

    Ter Stegen might have recently had his eye on Manuel Neuer's number one jersey for Germany, but as an audition this display was equivalent to him slurring his words and falling off stage.

    And as for Lionel Messi, well goodness knows. The man on whom Barcelona's every hope so often hinges looked more fed up than ever before as the goals flooded in.

    Suddenly, those flights to Milan out of Lisbon might look infinitely more appealing to the little Argentinian than the team plane back to Barcelona.

    And if Barcelona are to learn to stand on their own two feet again, rather than continue to lean on the man from Rosario for balance, perhaps that Inter move might not be the worst idea after all.

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