If someone knows what it’s like to work under Ronald Koeman then it’s certainly Frenkie de Jong. The Dutch duo know each other from their national team and now, they’re together again at Barcelona.
It’s also safe to say that Koeman has brought a lot of changes with him to Catalonia. The team is training harder and it’s showing on the pitch as well. However, the most impressive aspect of the new gaffer is the power that he possesses.
Recently, De Jong talked to UEFA about it and mentioned how the Dutchman is clear with his instructions and in the way he communicates with his players.
“When he’s talking, you are listening to him because he has this authority, this power – I don’t know how to explain it – and, of course, he has a lot of knowledge about football because I think he understands the game and was a great player before. So, if he tries to teach you something, you’re listening.”
Of course, it helps that Koeman is also really knowledgeable about football so everyone is learning by listening to him. Similarly, De Jong says the communication between them two is excellent for that same reason.
“I think the communication between us, between the coach and me, is really good, and he tells [me] strictly what he demands from me in this position, and I think everything is really clear.”
As far as advice from the coach goes, it’s important not to fall into too many traps that Barcelona as a city has. With plenty of incredible food and opportunities to get lost in the excitement, it’s also easy to forget about football.
Koeman doesn’t want that to happen and is really strict in that regard.
“Koeman just told me I have to be careful, that I [shouldn’t] go to restaurants too much or eat too much because life is really good in Barcelona and sometimes you can feel like you’re on vacation the whole year. At the end of the day, football is the main part.”
Barcelona have spent a record 1 billion Euros in last five seasons
At this point, practically everyone not living under a rock knows Barcelona are struggling financially. Part of that issue is certainly the ongoing pandemic, which has put more than just a dent in everyone’s wallets. However, the other part of that problem was also self-inflicted when it comes to the Catalan giants.
According to Carrusel Deportivo‘s latest report, Barcelona have spent a record one billion euros in the last five seasons on the market. They’ve gathered the information from Transfermarkt and their data source of spendings to create a list of teams who have spent the most in recent times.
And with a total of 1.057 million euros thrown down the drain, Barcelona have convincingly taken the first spot. Of course, this is not exactly a race you want to be leading or winning, for that matter. Manchester City are just behind them with €952M and Juventus are third with €941M.
Interestingly, Real Madrid are the ones who have lost the least amount, ‘only’ €47M, which is indeed pocket change compared to Barcelona’s €367M. Still, it has to be noted that the Catalans are also the club with the second-highest income in the last five years, €690M to be more precise, but that is so heavily outweighed by the losses that it hardly makes a difference.
When we take all of that into account, it really does become crystal clear why they are in such a mess in the first place. Needless to say, whoever wins the elections in less than a week’s time will have a mountain to climb to get the club out of this mess.
But we should also understand that kind of a job is not something you can solve quickly. It may take a couple of seasons of good and sensible business to bring Barcelona back from the brink.
Still, it is possible and with the right leadership, it should inevitably happen.