Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has spoken ahead of Barcelona’s first La Liga game of the season at the Camp Nou against Villareal. The Dutch manager has answered a lot of questions and clarified the controversy around Luis Suarez’s departure and Riqui Puig being pushed away.
“The players are ready and prepared for tomorrow’s game.Ronald Koeman in the press conference ahead of Barça – Villareal
“I was not the culprit in the Suárez issue. I respected him from the day one, and I told him that he might not participate a lot if he stays, but I would’ve counted him. Terminating Suárez’s contract was the club’s decision.
“Riqui Puig will be called up for tomorrow’s match. I count on him. If Riqui and Aleñá decide to stay they will definitely get chances to play.
“Fati is an important player and a phenomenal talent. Luis Enrique called him up for international duty because he saw Ansu’s quality. I will count on him for sure.
“I believe that our defense needs to improve. I’m a bit worried about that, but let’s talk about the positives. We have a great attack with youngsters that are eager to start the season.
Ronald Koeman added that he is currently counting on the players in his hands, and refused to give hints about future signings, pointing towards financial problems. When being asked about a potential new number 9, and whether that would be Lautaro or Depay, Koeman said:
“As I said before, I only speak about the players I have. Nothing is ruled out.RONALD KOEMAN IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE AHEAD OF BARÇA – VILLAREAL
“The club’s economical and financial situation is currently very complicated. We always look for players who suit the sporting and financial situation.
“Even if we don’t sign a striker, we still have replacements like Fati and Dembélé.“
The Dutchman continued his words regarding the tactical part of the game:
“When we don’t have possession of the ball, we must press the opposition in order to retrieve it as quick as possible.RONALD KOEMAN IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE AHEAD OF BARÇA – VILLAREAL
“At Barcelona things are different. I’m at the best club in the world and there’s much more responsibility. You must be consistently good at the best club in the world.”
That brings an end to Koeman’s press conference.
Just in: Neymar’s entourage confirms renewal with PSG as he ‘likes the project’
Fabrizio Romano has broken huge news as part of Neymar’s contract situation with Paris Saint-Germain, which all but officially announces that the Brazilian will be staying in France, contrary to what has been reported recently. The report suggests that that he will sign his extension soon, which is bound to include a massive UCL bonus.
Neymar’s entourage have confirmed his decision to stay with the Paris outfit in conversation with France Football, saying, “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project.”
Neymar is expected to sign soon his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain until June 2026, huge UCL bonus confirmed too. His entourage just announced to France Football: “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project”. 🇧🇷 #PSG https://t.co/LMnrpctSkx— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 12, 2021
PSG have, in fact, actually enjoyed success in Europe in the recent past. They reached the Champions League final last season, crumbling only to the unstoppable Bayern Munich by a mere one goal to nil. Since then, they have fired Thomas Tuchel, and hired Mauricio Pochettino, who inspired an incredible victory against Bayern in this season’s Champions League quarters. Spearheaded by Neymar and Mbappe, the capital-side hit the defending champions for three goals, conceding two.
Despite their lead in the UCL, they do not have a stronghold on the trophy with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid still in the running. It becomes a lot more problematic when you realise their situation in Ligue 1.
PSG look far from comfortable in the league, which is a shocker to say the least. As it stands, Pochettino’s mean are in second place with 66 points, three adrift of Lille who top the table with one of the most impressive defensive records in Europe.
A season without either of the big trophies might force Neymar to have a change of mind, with the Barcelona project looking much more comprehensive under Joan Laporta. In fact, the new President might look at the Brazilian as the key that will allow Lionel Messi to stay at the club. We do the same rumours annually, so it is only fair if any of these ‘confirmations’ are turned on their head in the coming weeks.