Written By Onyeka Daniel
Barcelona have been in a poor run of form lately and the club president, Joan Laporta had called for the fans to remain calm and continue to support the club.
The Blaugrana started the season in hot and cold manner but have generally been unconvincing as they drew at home to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish League before their unceremonious defeat to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, also at the Camp Nou. The draw to Granada in the League, also at the Camp Nou has left the fans seething with anger and frustration as the team have failed to dominate their opponents in addition to these bad results and Laporta has now come out to call for calm among the fans and reassure them that this is just a phase and that the club is doing everything it can to improve things.
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“Hello culers,” Laporta said. “I ask that you continue encouraging the team as you have been; the team needs it and thank you. These are difficult moments, and we must be present. This week a delegation from the club will travel to Palos de la Frontera to attend a supporters’ club event before attending the Cadiz match. “At Cadiz we can be sure that the team will try to win,” Laporta continued. “I don’t know what will happen, but whatever happens, in the next game against Levante continue to cheer on the team as you are doing, the team needs it. And you should be calm. We know what to do and we will fix it.”
Laporta is said to be seriously considering replacing Ronald Koeman on the Barcelona bench and the top contenders are Roberto Martinez, the coach of the Belgian national team but the financial package involved is proving to be a strong deterrent as the club will have to compensate his current employer before he can take up the role at the Camp Nou.
The other name is a legend of the club, Xavi Hernandez but he’s not Laporta’s favorite as he supported another candidate during the Barcelona presidential election, won by Laporta.
Right on top of that, the figure that it would require to free the current coach (€12 million) is another stumbling block as the club are trying to cut cost at the club, hence their inability to splash the cash to get to their target (Martinez).
Barcelona coach, Ronald Koeman has received the backings of the club’s president indirectly through his (Laporta) spokesperson, Enric Masip. Despite reports of an imminent sack, seems like the club plan to continue with their coach, at least for the time being as was echoed by Masip while speaking to reporters.
“He (Koeman) has credit because he is the Barcelona coach. If the coach is in this situation, it’s because he has the confidence to continue. “When you see things aren’t working, it’s normal to doubt.” The spokesperson also opened the door for Xavi Hernandez to take the helm of affairs at the Barcelona bench in the immediate future under Laporta. “The president’s preference has always been Cruyff and then there are people like Guardiola and Xavi. Laporta has always said that Xaxi will end up being Barca’s coach. With Laporta? Why not? “
Xavi, who is currently the coach of Al-sadd, a post he has held for the last two years is also said to be considering taking up the Barcelona job but there is the feeling that he might not be ready yet.
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(Mundo Deportivo and Dario As)