Football

Ronald Koeman: I should be in charge of who plays for Barcelona, not Joan Laporta

Barcelona are less feared without Lionel Messi, Ronald Koeman has admitted, with the Blaugrana manager stating that rivals were "more scared" when the Argentine was at the heart of their side.

Ronald Koeman has stressed that he must be the one who decides who gets a place in Barcelona’s starting XI and not president Joan Laporta.

Barcelona are prepared to offer the Dutch coach a new contract before his current one expires at the end of the season, but it has been reported the president wants guarantees that Riqui Puig will be given a role in the first team.

Laporta clarified this week that Koeman has “all the power in sporting matters” and that he has the confidence and respect of the board, which the 58-year-old took as a good sign.

“That was good to see. Before that, a couple of things came out that didn’t point to support for the manager. That frustrated me,” Koeman told Algemeen Dagblad.

“Two and a half weeks ago, we had a discussion about a new contract. There were no leaks in the media of that discussion, until the president talked to journalists about the situation of the club last week, about finances and such.

“At the end, he started talking about the contract discussion. A day later, newspapers reported: ‘Koeman can sign a new contract if he follows three demands’.

“I responded and said: ‘This can’t happen’. I need to be able to control how we play and who I pick. Then the chairman came on Monday with that TV interview. That was a good thing.”

The former Netherlands coach’s future at Camp Nou depends on his side meeting their objectives for the current campaign, Goal has learned.

Koeman says he is eager to commit to a new deal with the club, as he hopes to stay in charge of the team for “many years”.

The Catalan side are currently unbeaten in La Liga, having taken seven points from their first three matches of the season.

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