Ronald Koeman said "everyone knows it's my dream to coach Barcelona", but the Dutchman remains focused on the Netherlands.

Koeman had been linked to Barca after Ernesto Valverde was sacked, before the LaLiga champions eventually turned to Quique Setien in January.

Former Barca defender Koeman previously revealed his Netherlands contract contains a clause that allows him to depart for Camp Nou following Euro 2020, though the European Championship has been pushed back 12 months due to coronavirus.

Koeman, who underwent heart surgery in May, addressed the Barca speculation and his future.

"I had a phone call [from Barca], as I've explained many times. But I want to keep my word with the national team, I thought we'd have Euro 2020 this summer," Koeman told Catalunya Radio.

"I'm happy with how things are with the national team and for me, that's the most important thing at the moment. None of us know what will happen in the future.

"In my contract, there is a clause that will let me leave the national team job after the Euros but now's not the time to be thinking about that. Everyone knows it's my dream to coach Barca.

"Hopefully I might have the opportunity to do so in the future. But as always, that depends on your performance and successes as a coach - you need a lot of experience to coach a team like Barca."

LaLiga leaders Barca were two points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid when the 2019-20 season was postponed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's really difficult for me to say what I think about Barca," said Koeman, who won four LaLiga titles and the European Cup/Champions League during his time at Camp Nou. "Today's Barca isn't the same as [Pep] Guardiola's, but it's still a fantastic team.

"Because of [Frenkie] De Jong, I've been watching more of their games. I hope they go on to win LaLiga. As for the Champions League, they'll need to improve to be in a chance of winning it."

Netherlands international midfielder Frenkie de Jong joined Barca from Eredivisie champions Ajax at the start of the season.

De Jong had scored two goals and supplied as many assists in LaLiga before the league's suspension.

Koeman added: "I think De Jong is a player who can adapt to a new position in midfield, playing a little further forward. But I still think his best position is just in front of the back four - where [Sergio] Busquets plays. That's his best position- where he plays for the national team and where he played with Ajax.

"It's not a bad thing to adapt to other positions. He's still only young and you have to give young players time. In no time he will show his quality with Barca. He's done that with Ajax and with the national team. I'm in no doubt that he's the right player for Barca. He knows he can do more, but he's taking it all with calm because he's happy at Barca."

Ronald Koeman has left hospital after undergoing heart surgery last Sunday.

The Netherlands head coach was admitted for treatment on a blocked coronary artery.

The 57-year-old was discharged on Thursday and he issued a message of thanks to those who treated him and sent him support.

"That was a bit of a shock, last weekend," he wrote in a message tweeted by the Netherlands national team account.

"For myself, of course, but especially for my family, and for my friends.

"Fortunately, the doctors helped me quickly and wonderfully, for which I am very grateful. You get very humble from an event like this.

"It was fantastic for me to see how many people were moved. And how many sweet messages I received. From acquaintances from the football world, from clubs.

"But also from completely unknown people. That has done me a lot of good and I would like to thank everyone for that!"

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman underwent successful heart surgery on Sunday.

Koeman, a Dutch great who starred for the Oranje from the early late 1980s and into the 1990s, was reportedly dealt with by specialists in Amsterdam.

According to De Telegraaf, Koeman was taken to the University Medical Centre (UMC) in the city and underwent treatment that involved unblocking a coronary artery and a stent being put into the vein.

De Telegraaf, which said it had its information confirmed by Koeman's wife Bartina and agent Rob Jansen, reported the 57-year-old was in a stable condition.

A statement issued by Jansen's Wasserman agency later confirmed his client had been operated on and would return home on Monday.

"Ronald Koeman was hospitalized tonight (Sunday evening) after chest complaints. The 57-year-old national team coach of the Dutch national team has undergone a successful cardiac catheterization and will return home tomorrow," it read.

The Dutch football association (KNVB) posted a message of support on Twitter, stating: "That is a shock. Fortunately things are going better again. Much strength and improvement, coach."

Koeman enjoyed a stellar playing career at club level with Groningen, Ajax, PSV, Barcelona and Feyenoord, before turning to coaching.

He had spells in charge of Ajax, PSV, Benfica, Southampton, Feyenoord, Valencia and Everton, becoming Netherlands head coach in 2018.

Koeman led his country to second place at the inaugural Nations League Finals in 2019 and sealed qualification for Euro 2020, with the tournament since pushed back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dutchman Ronald Koeman is probably the most versatile defender of all time. Not only was he capable of playing both as a defender and as a midfielder; he frequently played as a sweeper and was equally known for his goal-scoring, long-range shooting, and accuracy from free-kicks and penalties.

He is the top-scoring defender in world football.

Koeman began his career at FC Groningen before transferring to Ajax, where he won the national Eredivise title in 1984–85. He then joined Ajax's rivals PSV, winning three consecutive Eredivisie titles (1986–87, 1987–88 and 1988–89) and the European Cup in 1988.

Koeman is one of five European players to win a Treble with their club and a cup with their national team in the same year. The other four players are his teammates Hans van Breukelen, Berry van Aerle, Gerald Vanenburg and Wim Kieft.

In 1989, Koeman moved to Barcelona and became part of Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team", helping the club win La Liga four years in a row between 1991 and 1994, and the European Cup, where he scored the winning goal in the final against Sampdoria in 1992.

At the international level, Koeman was one of the stars of the Netherlands national team, alongside Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Dennis Bergkamp. During his career with the Netherlands, Koeman won UEFA Euro 1988 and played at the UEFA Euro 1992. He would feature in two World Cup for the Netherlands, 1990 and 1994, captaining the team in the latter.

Koeman scored an amazing 90 goals in all competitions for Barcelona and was nicknamed the King of free-kicks. He is Barcelona's second-highest goalscorer from free kicks, behind only Lionel Messi, with 26 goals from set-pieces in all competitions.

He is also Barcelona's second-highest scorer from penalties in LaLiga, behind Messi once again, with 46 goals from spot-kicks.

With 67 goals, he is the most prolific defender in LaLiga history. He currently holds the record for 25 consecutive successful penalty conversions in LaLiga.

To vote for Ronald Koeman to be part of SportsMax's Ultimate XI, visit SportsMax's Ultimate XI page and watch the SportsMax Zone today as Brent Sancho, Howie Bell, and Colin Murray take a look at your picks. The SportsMax Zone airs on SportsMax at 4:30 pm Jamaica time/5:30pm Eastern Caribbean time with a repeat on SportsMax 2 at 6 pm Jamaica time/7 pm Eastern Caribbean time.

 

Full name        Ronald Koeman

Date of birth    21 March 1963 (age 57)

Place of birth   Zaandam, Netherlands

Height  1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)

Playing position(s)      Defender / Midfielder

 

Honours

 

Ajax

Winner Eredivisie       1985

Winner KNVB Cup     1986

 

PSV

Winner Eredivisie       1987

Winner            Eredivisie        1988

Winner            KNVB Cup      1988

Winner            European Cup 1988

Runner-up       Intercontinental Cup   1988

Runner-up       UEFA Super Cup        1988

Winner Eredivisie        1989

Winner KNVB Cup      1989

 

Barcelona

Runner-up       UEFA Super Cup        1989

Winner Copa del Rey  1990

Winner La Liga            1991

Winner Supercopa de España            1991

Winner La Liga            1992

Winner European Cup 1992

Runner-up       Intercontinental Cup   1992

Winner UEFA Super Cup       1992

Winner Supercopa de España           1992

Winner La Liga           1993

Runner-up       Supercopa de España            1993

Winner La Liga            1994

Runner-up       UEFA Champions League      1994

Winner Supercopa de España            1994

Feyenoord

Runner-up       Dutch Supercup          1995

 Netherlands

First place       European Championship        1988

Third place      European Championship        1992

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman said his Barcelona clause has been delayed until 2021 after the European Championship was postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Barca defender Koeman was in line to take over from Ernesto Valverde, who was sacked and replaced by Quique Setien in January.

Koeman previously revealed his Netherlands contract contains a clause that allows him to depart for Camp Nou following Euro 2020.

With the Euros pushed back 12 months amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Dutchman Koeman addressed his contract.

"The clause in my contract to go to Barcelona is for after the European Championship," Koeman said via Marca.

"No date has been mentioned, so now it's after the European Championship in 2021.

"But I haven't thought about it for a second anyway."

UEFA confirmed the postponement of Euro 2020 on Tuesday, with the competition due to be staged across June and July in 2021.

All other UEFA competitions and matches for clubs and national teams have been put on hold until further notice. 

Netherlands were set to be without star Memphis Depay this year due to a knee injury but Koeman said: "It's a lucky break, but it's a shame that the European Championship won't be played now.

"We qualified at a good level, we were in good shape and we wanted to continue in this vein."

PSV teenager Mohamed Ihattaren has received his first Netherlands senior call-up as part of Ronald Koeman's provisional squad for the scheduled friendlies against the United States and Spain later this month.

Ihattaren, 18, has enjoyed a breakout season in the Eredivisie this term.

Although he has represented the Dutch international side at every age group from Under-15 upwards, he is also eligible to represent Morocco.

Uncapped duo Teun Koopmeiners and Owen Wijndal have also been selected, taking the AZ contingent in Koeman's 30-man party up to five.

Defenders Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Hans Hateboer, midfielder Marten de Roon and forward Justin Kluivert all feature despite playing their club football in Italy, a country which has recently introduced lockdown measures in an attempt to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Feyenoord midfielder Leroy Fer is back in the international reckoning for the first time since 2014.

Provisional Netherlands squad to face the United States and Spain:

Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Jeroen Zoet (FC Utrecht), Tim Krul (Norwich City), Marco Bizot (AZ); Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Daley Blind (Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale), Owen Wijndal (AZ); Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Leroy Fer (Feyenoord), Mohamed Ihattaren (PSV), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Teun Koopmeiners (AZ), Davy Propper (Brighton & Hove Albion), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Olympique Marseille), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Ryan Babel (Ajax), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Myron Boadu (AZ), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Justin Kluivert (AS Roma), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Calvin Stengs (AZ) and Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg).

Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is positive about Memphis Depay's recovery from a knee injury ahead of Euro 2020.

The Lyon star ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in December, putting him in doubt for the upcoming European Championship.

However, Koeman is upbeat about the 26-year-old's recovery ahead of the tournament in June and July.

"We have regular contact. I went to him in Rome. I know about his recovery," he told a news conference after the draw for the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League was held on Tuesday.

"It looks positive. It's a long way for him still."

Koeman added: "We don't have the certainty he will make the Euros. He has a long way to go.

"Time will tell if he will be fit."

Depay had scored 14 goals and provided two assists in 18 games in all competitions before his injury.

The Netherlands will face Ukraine, Austria and a play-off winner in Group C at the tournament.

Ernesto Valverde has taken Barcelona training amid widespread reports he will meet with the club's board later on Monday.

Despite his side sitting top of LaLiga, the Barcelona head coach is under intense pressure, scrutiny which increased after last week's 3-2 loss to Atletico Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final in Saudi Arabia.

Valverde was pictured taking training as reports in Spain suggested he could lose his position depending on the outcome of talks with the Barca hierarchy.

Barca great Andres Iniesta made an appearance at the session shortly after telling reporters the saga around Valverde had become "ugly", urging respect for his former boss who he felt had seen his position "weakened" by the constant speculation.

Iniesta's former team-mate Xavi, now head coach of Al Sadd, met with the Camp Nou side's director of football Eric Abidal in Qatar on Friday.

But while conceding coaching Barca was his "dream", he did not divulge what was discussed and reiterated his respect for Valverde when he faced reporters after leading Al Sadd into the Qatar Cup final with a win over Al Rayyan.

Reports on Sunday then suggested Xavi had turned down the chance to take charge of Barca immediately.

Ronald Koeman, Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino are the other leading contenders to replace Valverde if the former Athletic Bilbao boss is removed from his role.

While managing Tottenham, Pochettino had insisted he would never contemplate taking charge of Barca due to his ties to his old team Espanyol, though reports claim the five-time European champions are still keen to make an approach.

Valverde took charge in 2017 and won two league titles, the Copa del Rey and a Supercopa crown over his first two seasons.

Barca are due to train on Tuesday before a day off on Wednesday and will next be in action with a Sunday home league contest against Granada.

Andres Iniesta has urged Barcelona to show more respect to head coach Ernesto Valverde following "ugly" reports they are attempting to line up club legend Xavi as his replacement.

Barca are on course for a third successive LaLiga title and remain in the Champions League, but Valverde is under increasing pressure.

Following the 3-2 Supercopa de Espana semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid in Jeddah, reports of the board's apparent frustrations with Valverde have escalated.

Strong speculation has claimed club directors used the trip to Saudi Arabia to open talks with Xavi regarding the possibility of replacing Valverde, but the 39-year-old – who is in charge of Qatari club Al Sadd – is said to have told them he is only willing to take over at the end of the season.

Barca have not confirmed the stories, but they do not sit easy with Iniesta, who spent a season playing under Valverde at Camp Nou.

"What comes to my mind a little, if all this is so, is that the way everything is being done is a bit ugly," he told Onda Cero.

"I think that there should always be respect for the coach. The boss' situation and position has been left very weakened.

"My relationship with the boss is very good. During the year we have been talking sometimes. Really, beyond whether we like the coach or not, I think the situation is not pleasant for anyone: the coach, the team or the fans."

Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino have been mentioned as potential alternatives to Xavi if he decides he is not ready to return to Barca.

But Iniesta opted against outright backing anyone, suggesting Xavi and Koeman have positives and drawbacks.

"There is a case for everyone," Iniesta added. "In the case of Pep Guardiola, who was at Barca B and then he took over the first team, the one who knows [the team and club] best is Xavi.

"He will have analysed all the variables that there can be and let's see what happens, but Koeman has a lot of experience as a coach and Xavi is starting out now.

"But a lot of times, experience counts for nothing. Both of them have been at Barca and know the club."

Barcelona appear ready to turn to their next coaching target as the LaLiga giants eye Mauricio Pochettino.

Ernesto Valverde is under enormous pressure after the Supercopa de Espana semi-final loss to Atletico Madrid, but Xavi has reportedly turned down the job – for now.

Amid contrasting reports over Barca's next decision, they may be lining up a move for Pochettino.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA CONTACT POCHETTINO OVER COACHING JOB

Barcelona contacted former Tottenham manager Pochettino to be their next boss, according to RAC1.

It comes as widespread reports in Spain say Al Sadd boss and former Barcelona star Xavi turned down the position.

Meanwhile, Catalunya Radio reported Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman also rejected the opportunity.

After a meeting on Sunday, Barca decided to stick with Valverde for now, according to Sport.

ROUND-UP

- Amid reports Manchester United had agreed to terms with Bruno Fernandes, the Mirror says the Premier League club are set to bid £65million (€76.1m) for the Sporting CP midfielder this week.

- Tottenham are set to sign Benfica's Gedson Fernandes as further details about a possible move emerge. Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano reports Spurs will sign the Portugal international on loan with an option to buy for between £42.7m (€50m) and £51.2m (€60m) in 2021.

- Jerome Boateng continues to be linked with a Bayern Munich exit. Milan are ready to challenge Arsenal for the defender, according to Sky Germany.

- Coming out of contract at season's end, it appears Layvin Kurzawa's future is away from Paris Saint-Germain. L'Equipe reports the left-back – who has made just five Ligue 1 starts this campaign – recently rejected Inter but the Serie A club remain hopeful of signing the 27-year-old this month.

- Juventus are looking to the future. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A champions are keeping an eye on teenage Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and AZ forward Calvin Stengs.

Donyell Malen's participation in Euro 2020 is in doubt after the young striker underwent knee surgery that will likely mean he misses the rest of the season.

Malen, 20, had a minor operation on his left knee in Pittsburgh, with PSV confirming on Saturday that the surgery had been successful.

However, the forward, who has scored 18 goals for club and country this term, is now set to miss the remainder of the campaign.

It means his chances of making Netherlands' Euro 2020 squad have been dealt a significant blow, while Ronald Koeman is likely to be left without another striking option following Memphis Depay's season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury.

"We may assume that Donyell Malen had successful surgery. There were no complications after surgery," said PSV's medical manager Dr Wart van Zoest. 

"Donyell will stay here [Pittsburgh] for at least two weeks before he returns to Eindhoven to start his thorough rehabilitation programme."

Malen suffered the injury in PSV's 3-1 defeat to Feyenoord on December 21.

Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman admitted it will be "very difficult" for Memphis Depay to return to fitness for Euro 2020.

Lyon captain Depay ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the French club's Ligue 1 loss to Rennes on Sunday.

The 25-year-old former Manchester United forward had been set to play a leading role in his nation's first appearance at a major tournament since the 2014 World Cup, but the odds of him figuring are now remote.

It was a bad weekend for Netherlands boss Koeman, who could also be without Donyell Malen after the promising PSV striker suffered a suspected knee injury in an Eredivisie defeat to Feyenoord.

"It was not a fun Sunday," Koeman told NOS.

"It is known that Memphis has had an incredibly high return over the last two years, certainly with the Dutch national team, and is a very important player.

"But in the end he is the one who has to deal with this setback. Of course we do too, but I know how he proud he was to be going to the European Championship. It is a great blow to him."

Depay hit six goals in as many Euro 2020 qualifiers for Netherlands and had added 14 in all competitions for Lyon this term before the injury struck.

Koeman continued: "It is clear that it is a cruciate ligament injury and that means months of rehabilitation... [to] come back, train, play matches, it takes a little time.

"Then a European Championship might be very difficult. On the other hand, I learned that it makes no sense to look ahead. Also, this Sunday proved that you can't count on anything.

"Let's hope everyone else stays fit and healthy and then by May we will see how it looks for us."

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman dismissed speculation linking him to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Koeman has emerged as a possible option for Barca should Ernesto Valverde leave, with the Dutchman's Netherlands contract containing a clause that would allow him to depart for Camp Nou following Euro 2020.

The 56-year-old spent six years at Barca as a player before later having a spell as Louis van Gaal's assistant from 1998 to 2000.

Koeman, however, is focused on his job with the Netherlands ahead of next year's European Championship.

"I have two more years left on my contract with the [Dutch] national team and I do not like to talk about Barcelona," Koeman said at an event in Barcelona.

"It's uncomfortable for a lot of reasons; I currently have a job and it's not fair to talk about this.

"If they come, they come; and if they don't, they don't. There are more important things [to worry about] in life."

The Netherlands are in Group C for Euro 2020, alongside Ukraine, Austria and a play-off winner.

Koeman's side will open their campaign at home to Ukraine in Amsterdam on June 14.

Ronald Koeman said Georginio Wijnaldum feels "so happy with this Dutch team" after his Netherlands side beat Estonia 5-0 without any signs of the racism that blighted a league game in the country two days earlier.

Excelsior winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira was subjected to alleged racist chanting during last week's 3-3 draw against Den Bosch in Eerste Divisie, prompting Wijnaldum to speak out about the problem of racism in football ahead of the final Netherlands Euro 2020 qualifying match at Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Wijnaldum went on to be the game's star player, netting the opening goal and going on to score two more, while Nathan Ake and Myron Boadu also got on the score sheet in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Netherlands head coach Koeman revealed Wijnaldum was in high spirits after the match, and not just because of his goals.

"Gini just said something about it in the dressing room during our closing words with each other," Koeman told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

"He said he feels so happy with this Dutch team, where this problem does not occur.

"It is one team. It's nice to see that again."

Koeman made seven changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Northern Ireland three days earlier but still saw his players deliver a cohesive, confident performance.

While the likes of Ake, Wijnaldum, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt were outstanding against Estonia, Koeman said he will utilise friendly matches in March to finalise his squad selections for Euro 2020.

"It would be very strange if everything was clear against Estonia in one evening," said Koeman. "We still have six months.

"We have a lot of young players who will be half a year later. It will be a fight. strong possible selection.

"You use March for points of discussion within the selection. I will therefore let many players play.

"We then play two international matches and have consciously opted for Thursday and Sunday. We will not play with the same team twice."

Georginio Wijnaldum scored a hat-trick as Netherlands bounced back from a disappointing draw with Northern Ireland by beating Estonia 5-0 in Amsterdam.

The goalless draw in Belfast three days earlier allowed Germany to leapfrog Netherlands into top spot in Euro 2020 qualifying group C, and while the win over Estonia did not return Ronald Koeman's side to the summit it did help restore some pride.

Wijnaldum notched either side of an effort from Nathan Ake and completed his treble with a superb solo effort, before Myron Boadu scored his first senior international goal to complete the rout.

With Estonia certain to finish bottom of the group and the hosts already sure of their place at Euro 2020 this was never going to be a classic, but Koeman made seven changes to his side and still enjoyed a performance full of creative endeavour.

 

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