Ronald Koeman and Frenkie de Jong, in Barcelona's last game against Osasuna.VINCENT WEST / Reuters
Ronald Koeman wanted peace of mind. Although when he took over the Barcelona bench last summer he assumed that hectic times were ahead, the Dutch coach implored to work in an environment of stability. And nothing is more hopeful than a new president to calm the institutional storm. Joan Laporta , who won the elections last Sunday, was visiting the Joan Gamper Sports City this Monday. “He won the elections by quite a bit. I know Laporta and I also know Frank Rijkaard well , who had him as president. He gives his players a lot of confidence. He is very into his position to help the coaches and players; but, in the end, it all depends on the results, "said Koeman. And he explained the new sensations with Laporta at the helm of the club: “He exchanged a few words with the staff and with the players. There was good vibes. It's good to have a president like him to work on things for the future. ”
De Jong also celebrated Laporta's arrival. “He wished us luck and asked us to go compete in Paris. We are happy that there is a president. It is important for the club ”, assured the Dutch midfielder. The focus, in any case, is on the future of Lionel Messi. The Barça captain's contract expires in June and the 10th has yet to make a decision about his future after he sought to leave Barcelona last summer. "I don't know if with Laporta there are more options for Messi to continue. But it is true that Laporta has a positive past with Leo and with other players. Hopefully he continues with us, ”Koeman said. The man from Rosario was facing the last Barça president, Josep Maria Bartomeu. "He cheated on me many times," he had complained.
Joan Laporta: "The best player in the world wants Barcelona"
With Messi's future in the air, the present of 10 is in Paris in the tie against PSG of the Round of 16 of the Champions League, after falling 1-4 in the first leg at the Camp Nou. “If Leo is capable of one of his best games, anything is possible. He can decide any match at any time, ”Koeman said. “But”, he continued, “not only should Leo be at his best. The whole team has to be. And you have to be lucky too ”. A luck that, according to the Dutch coach, Barça did not have with injuries in the season.
"Not a day have we had all the players available," complained the Dutchman. Injuries condition Barcelona. Especially the casualties he has suffered at the rear during the season. Koeman will not be able to count on Gerard Piqué or Ronald Araujo for the duel against the Parisian team. “We are unlucky with our centers, but we have shown that we do not depend on one or two players. The team is strong and we will try to show it again ”. Mauricio Pochettino's team will not be able to count on Neymar. “For me he is one of the best in the world. That he is not available to play is better for us. If it is not present, it is easier. We believe in the comeback ”, concluded De Jong.