Koeman is facing increasing pressure after Benfica
comfortably beat his Barcelona side in the
Champions League, with Belgium head coach
Martinez the favourite to replace him.
Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez has opened
the door to an appointment as Barcelona boss with
under-fire Ronald Koeman facing the sack.
Koeman has endured a disastrous spell in charge of
the La Liga giants since taking over last year, with
Barca currently sitting sixth in the Spanish top-flight.
While that is far below what is expected at the Nou
Camp, things have gone even worse in
the Champions League, with Koeman’s men currently
bottom of Group E.
They are still yet to score in the competition this
season, having been dominated by Bayern Munich
and humiliated by Benfica in their opening two
The lowest point of the season so far came in
Portugal on Wednesday, with Barcelona having just a
single shot on target as Benfica comfortably won 3-0.
The defeat also ensured that Barca began their
European campaign with two losses for the first time
since the 1972/73 UEFA Cup.
Only Louis Van Gaal has a worse record in the
Champions League group stages as Barca boss than
And with the latter entering into a war of words with
club president Joan Laporta, his reign appears to be
hanging by a thread.
Belief that the end is near for Koeman at the Nou
Camp increased in the aftermath of their desperately
poor visit to Portugal.
Koeman even hinted that he does not believe that he
has the support of the board in his post-match press
“I feel supported, very supported by my players here
at Barcelona. And by the club? I don’t know,” he said.
“I’m not going to argue about the level of my team.
There’s no point in comparing this with Barcelona
teams of years gone by. That’s as clear as water.
I can only give you my opinion of my work at the club
– I feel backed by my players and their attitude.”
The man many believe will eventually replace
Koeman in charge of Barcelona is Martinez, who has
enjoyed a relatively successful spell with the Belgian
And now the Spaniard has dropped a cryptic hint that
he could return to his home country to replace Koeman.
“There is absolutely nothing – and there has been no
contact with Barcelona. I want to fulfil my contract,
but many things may arise along the way,” he told HLN.
Though his contract runs until after the 2022 World
Cup in Qatar, his insistence that “many things may
arise” could be seen as an attempt to open the door
to a move to the Catalan club.
He led them to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup,
though they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2020.
Still, Martinez has proven he has the ability to work
with world-class players having worked with Kevin de
Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku with Belgium.
He also has experience of winning major trophies
and operating under financial restrictions, having won
an FA Cup with Wigan, who had one of the smallest
budgets in the Premier League.