Ronald Koeman said he will “ fight to put Barcelona back on top ” after he was officially appointed Wednesday as the Spanish club ’ s new coach on a two – year deal .
“ It’ s a happy day. Everyone knows that Barca was for me .
It’ s my home .
It’ s a challenge and it won ’ t be easy , it will demand the best of me and I like that, ” Koeman said at his unveiling at the Camp Nou .
“ It was a dream and this dream became a reality.
We’ re going to fight to put Barca back on top . ”
The 57- year – old Koeman , who had been in charge of the Netherlands since 2018 , replaces Quique Setien , who was sacked after the Catalans were humiliated 8 – 2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter- finals on Friday.
He becomes the fifth Dutchman to coach Barcelona after Rinus Michels , Johan Cruyff , Louis van Gaal and Frank Rijkaard .
In his six seasons as a Barca player Koeman made 264 official appearances, scoring 88 goals as he shone in Cruyff ’ s ‘ Dream Team ’ , winning four consecutive La Liga titles between 1991 – 94.
He also struck the winner in the 1992 European Cup final , the Catalan club ’ s first ever success in Europe ’ s top club competition .
“ It was written , one day , Ronald Koeman was to coach Barca .
The time has come, ” said club president Josep Maria Bartomeu , who made the initial announcement on Tuesday evening .
Koeman added : “I’ ve signed , I’ m the coach of Barcelona and we’ re going to work starting from now .
Changes need to be made .
The image from the other day is not the one we want to return to , not me , nor the players , directors , supporters , anyone . ”
The Bayern capitulation was the first time Barca had conceded eight goals in a game since losing to Sevilla 8 – 0 in the 1946 Spanish Cup .
Koeman said he would stick to his preferred Dutch style of possession – based football , staying true to the club ’ s tradition , but rowed back on suggestions the likes of Luis Suarez , Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba could all be leaving the club .
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“ If decisions need to be made , we’ ll take them , ” said Koeman .
“ A player who is 31, 32 years old , he ’ s not finished .
It’ s all about the hunger he has to want to be at this club and give the maximum . ”
The former Everton and Valencia boss also said he was confident of keeping Lionel Messi , with the 33- year – old Argentina star entering the final season of his contract .
“ He still has a year on his contract , he ’ s part of Barca .
I don’ t know if I need to convince him .
He ’ s the best player in the world .
And you want to have the best in your team , not against you , ” said Koeman .
“ As a manager, I love the idea of coaching Messi.
He wins matches on his own .
I will speak to him , but I hope he will stay here for several more years. ”
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