Ronald Koeman innovated against Real Valladolid. The Dutch manager strayed away from his trusted 4-2-3-1 and it paid off. After such a promising performance, Koeman answered several questions from the media (via Barça TV+).
“We changed the formation to have a little more security back in defense and to take advantage of the quality of the players we have, we had more possession of ball and players in midfield between lines.”Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference
“We were a very serious and focused team out there, we created many chances.”
“I’m very happy with the work we did throughout the game. At first there were some mistakes, but the team was very involved. They did a good job in defense and retrieving balls. We fought to score a lot more goals other than the three we scored.”
Barça had a complete performance in a new system. The three defenders, the liberated attack, the rejuvenated midfield; everything clicked for Koeman. His side did a great job and will now try to be consistent.
Koeman put special praise on Pedri, Barcelona’s 18-year-old who is making the difference nowadays. The young gem has already built beautiful chemistry with Lionel Messi, as the Dutch coach explains:
It would be on point to say that every starter had an excellent game. However, some stood out more than others. Against Valladolid, Koeman may have found his best eleven.
“Pedri is very good between the lines. He has a very good connection with Messi and is working hard. He also seems to be very comfortable on the pitch.”Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference
“Pjanic played well. He’s had to wait for his chance to play a whole game. There is competition in the middle of the field, but he’s played a good game, performing his defensive tasks well. Perfect.”
Lionel Messi just broke a big record, and the first thing journalists think about is his contract, but it is not really for Koeman to say whether Messi will stay as the Barça captain does not know if he will remain at Camp Nou.
“Messi staying? It’s more of a question for Messi than for me, but I see Leo happy. He’s working hard and he’s very important in our game with his creativity.”Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference
Ever since the return from quarantine, every team has played an extortionate amount of games. Barcelona have a six-day break and have gone through the December fixtures pretty well.
“We needed this break. The players feel very tired, they have had to play a lot, and they need to be with their family spending the Christmas parties quietly. Enjoy them and I wish you all a happy holiday!Ronald Koeman | Post-match press conference
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.