Soccer-Barcelona sack coach Koeman after poor run of results


Soccer Football - LaLiga - Rayo Vallecano v FC Barcelona - Estadio de Vallecas, Madrid, Spain - October 27, 2021 FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman looks on REUTERS/Sergio Perez

(Reuters) - Barcelona sacked coach Ronald Koeman after Wednesday's 1-0 LaLiga defeat at Rayo Vallecano, the Catalan club said on Wednesday.

"FC Barcelona has relieved Ronald Koeman of his duties as first team coach. The president of the club, Joan Laporta, informed him of the decision after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano," the LaLiga club said in a statement.

"Ronald Koeman will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday at the Ciutat Esportiva."

FC Barcelona wishes to thank him for his service to the Club and wishes him all the best in his professional career..

Barcelona are ninth in LaLiga on 15 points from 10 games, six points behind leaders Real Madrid who beat them 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

They are third in their Champions League group with three points from three matches after suffering 3-0 defeats in their opening two games against Bayern Munich and Benfica.

Barcelona are five-times European champions and the results marked the first time in the club's history that they had failed to score in their opening two European games.

Koeman, who spent six years with Barca as a player, was brought back to the club in August 2020 by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

New chief Joan Laporta, however, frequently made it clear that the Dutchman was not his appointment.

The duo had an uneasy relationship, with Koeman last month releasing a statement calling for him to be given time to rebuild after losing Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in the transfer window.

However, that wish was not granted and the club will now seek a replacement for the 58-year-old.

Local media reports suggest that former midfielder Xavi Hernandez, who is currently in charge of Al Sadd in Qatar, and Belgium coach Roberto Martinez are the front runners for the role.

(Reporting by Joseph Walker, Rohith Nair, Manasi Pathak, Fernando Kallas and Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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