Barcelona crisis laid bare as players notice moment between Ronald Koeman and Joan Laporta
La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Barcelona players and staff members were reportedly witness to a ‘cold’ moment between Ronald Koeman and Joan Laporta on their flight back from Lisbon this week following another disappointing defeat in the Champions League. Barcelona sit bottom of Group E having lost their opening two fixtures against Bayern Munich and Benfica.
They failed to register a shot on target against the Bundesliga champions two weeks ago, but the loss to Benfica would have hurt even more.
A 3-0 win over Levante at the weekend appeared to have turned the tide for Koeman somewhat with Barcelona still in a relatively good position in the league.
But attention quickly turned to the game against Benfica with Barcelona desperate to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.
Anything short of clinching all three points would have been a disaster for Koeman.
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And that pressure seemingly proved too much for Barcelona on the night as Benfica took full advantage with goals from Darwin Nunez and Rafa Silva helping the Portuguese side seal a 3-0 victory.
A demoralised Koeman admitted after the humiliating defeat that he could well face the sack.
“I feel the players are behind me,” Koeman said, but when asked if the Barcelona board backed him as well, he replied: “I don’t know.”
He may well have got a strong indication on the board’s mood as the club flew back from Lisbon on Wednesday night.
According to Spanish outlet Sport, Barcelona’s staff and players all noticed that Koeman and Laporta failed to say a single word to each other.
It was reported a few weeks ago following defeat to Bayern that Koeman and Laporta held long talks about the club’s direction.
But the relationship between the pair has seemingly deteriorated in recent weeks following poor results on the field.
Speculation is growing that Barcelona are looking to find a replacement for Koeman in the very near future.
Xavi, Andrea Pirlo and Roberto Martinez are among the favourites linked with taking the hot seat at the Nou Camp.
But former Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has warned Xavi about taking over from Koeman at this moment.
“At Barca there is a war that hurts the players,” he said. “I personally recommend Xavi to wait.
“This is not the ideal time to get to the club. He’s smart he has to wait a moment.”
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