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Former Barcelona director talks Araujo, Pedri, Moriba, Koeman: “When you like a player, you have to go for him”

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

In the midst of Barcelona’s economic crisis, former Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planes has reflected on some of the club’s crucial events in the recent past, including Ronald Koeman’s infamous tenure at Camp Nou.

Planes defended the Dutchman, suggesting that Barcelona supporters might have been quite unfair to the former coach.

“Koeman did a great job at Barça and we have not been too fair with him. He went through a very complicated period and bet on all the young players without any kind of excuse,” he said (h/t Mundo Deportivo).

Koeman did indeed divide the Barcelona fanbase during his time at Camp Nou, with a certain section of fans always loathing the Dutchman due to his rigid tactical setups coupled with a series of humiliating losses that came under his leadership.

Ramon Planes, at the time, was the sporting director of Barcelona. He was notably responsible for signing talents such as Ronald Araujo and Pedri.

Talking about the duo, Planes said, “The reports I received from Araujo and Pedri were received by other teams in Spain. I saw it and I had it decided. When you know you like a player, you have to go for him.”

“With Araujo, it was clear that I wanted him. I was in Getafe and the idea was that he would come to Getafe, but Barça came surprisingly to hire me and I said, that I would like to take him to Barcelona,” he added.

Ramon Planes did a fine job at Barça. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

“Every club is different. At Barça I had to go for young players, for players that I believed in, that I was convinced would do well. Perhaps that’s what I’m most happy and proud of, of having been me, of having been brave,” he added.

Planes, though, lamented the departure of young Ilaix Moriba, who had shown great promise after breaking into the senior team at Barcelona.

Talking about the youngster, Planes said, “Ilaix Moriba was a player with top quality, a starter at Barça, at the age of 17. An important player.”

“But his environment. His agents had abducted the boy a bit to make him see that it was better for him to leave and look for a better offer. He left the club for an economic reason,” he added.

Finally, Ramon Planes reflected on Barcelona’s moment of transition and uncertainty, especially after a humiliating 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich.

“Everyone knew that Barça was immersed in a moment of change, at the end of a stage. The truth was that I was very afraid of the ‘post-everything’,” Planes said.

“After the 2-8 against Bayern, where I had to take over the sporting management of the club with Ronald Koeman, I also thought the same thing: that it was a new challenge and that I had to be focused on doing well, doing my job well,” he added.

Ramon Planes eventually left Barcelona at the end of 2021. After a stint with Real Betis, he is currently serving as the sporting director of Saudi Arabian giants Al Ittihad.

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