Koeman was chosen because he was a former Barca player. He is said to understand the Barca style. But the former Dutch centre-back has also left Barca 25 years from his time as a player, and 20 years on from his time as Louis van Gaal’s assistant.
Koeman has played for Vitesse Arnhem, Ajax, Benfica, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia, AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord, Southampton, Everton and the Dutch club. He could understand Barca, but he had enough experience not to be bound to a path, to depend on any individual, including Messi.
Choosing Koeman was also part of a journey to help Barca erase Pep Guardiola’s obsession with football – which brought a lot of success, but then came back to haunt the club for years. And the way Barca tried to play more diversely under the new Dutch manager was testament.
“Barca is going to have to play like this, that…” guardiola’s subjective remarks made managers always compared, despite the fact that the player force each time is different. Barca’s present is also no longer the era of the Xavi and Iniesta.
History proves that Barca’s football, although based on ball control and the original 4-3-3 diagram, developed very diversely and flexibly, rather than relying solely on a certain path. As tactical expert Michael Cox said, when bringing Barca and the 1986 Champions League final, coach Terry Venables used the 4-4-2 diagram, with a solid defence and a line between all the workers. Despite that, the Catalonians have not boycotted their team.
Not to mention barca becoming victims of their own success, when today, the majority of the top teams talk about the way the ball is controlled with the defence rising. Even a team with no tradition with this style of play like Juventus would like to play better with Maurizio Sarri.
Guardiola-style Barca have also become outdated, with last season’s 2-8 Champions League defeat to Bayern an example. It was Bayern who developed Guardiola’s football philosophy, but later developed into a more timely face-to-face football. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are also a representative.
Pushing Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid was an attempt to clean up the dressing room, creating space for young players like Ansu Fati to develop and pave the way for a new football mindset by Koeman. What happened against Vilalrreal suggests koeman is trying to eradicate individualism at Barca and will free Messi to return to the right football he likes the most.
When given the burden of responsibility on his shoulders, most likely, Messi will be even better.