Barcelona’s problems are down to a ‘DICTATORSHIP of players’, claims ex-director Toni Freixa and he says any replacement for Ronald Koeman that isn’t Xavi ‘will NOT be respected’ 

Former Barcelona director and candidate for the

presidency Toni Freixa has defended Ronald Koeman

and claimed the club has lived under a ‘dictatorship’

of its top players for years.

Freixa told Spanish radio Cope: ‘Barcelona is a

manager shredder. Koeman needs support.

He has a good staff but it’s not easy with the

deficiencies the club has right now.

‘The only coaches who have been respected at

Barcelona are [Johan] Cruyff and [Pep] Guardiola. 

If Xavi comes now, he will also be respected.

And if Xavi doesn’t come, then it doesn’t matter who

the new coach is he will not be respected.

They [Cruyff and Guardiola] are the best two coaches

in the history of Barcelona, but Ernesto Valverde won

league and cup doubles and they never stopped

questioning him. They criticised Luis Enrique and he

won a treble.’

Freixa then suggested the top players have run the

club for years, which only worked when they were

delivering trophies.

He told Cope’s ‘El Partidazo’:

‘Barcelona has suffered in the last five seasons the

dictatorship of players who have won absolutely everything. 

‘For a long time now the team has not trained

properly. For a long time now the coach is not the

[maximum] authority. That’s the real problem of Barcelona.

‘I spoke some years ago to someone on the board

under [Josep] Bartomeu and he told me the coach at

Barcelona only had two objectives: that the players

didn’t get injured and that they didn’t get upset.

That was the approach.

They train according to what the bosses of the

dressing room say. And for a long time that was

enough to win, but when time catches up with these

players and they can’t reach the levels that they had

always reached, it’s not enough.’

Asked who he preferred to replace Koeman, Freixa

refused to pick a candidate from the shortlist of

Roberto Martinez, Andrea Pirlo, Xavi and Marcelo

Gallardo. 

He added: ‘The project has to based on the club

supporting the manager and giving him the

necessary support so he can do the job. Isolating him

is a bad idea.’

Diario Sport reported Friday that on the plane home

from Lisbon after the 3-0 defeat to Benfica, Koeman

and his assistant Alfred Schroeder were sat in the

same row as president Joan Laporta but did not

speak to each other .

When Laporta arrived back in Barcelona, he met with

fellow directors at the club’s training ground until

4am to decide when to dismiss the Dutch coach.

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