Koeman must wait to learn his fate after meeting with Laporta and Yuste

The Barcelona coach met with the president and his No.2 to discuss where things have gone wrong

| sport

Ivan San Antonio

Joan Laporta left the Ciutat de Valencia really angry after witnessing Barcelona throw away their last chance of winning La Liga. The president's fury was enhanced because of the way Barça's players fell apart in the second half, proving a 'deja vu' if previous defeats in the Champions League in recent seasons.

As soon as the game had ended, Laporta made the decision to arrange a meeting with the coach, Ronald Koeman, to ask for explanations and to hear his analysis on what had happened in key games recently first hand: the draws with Levante and Atletico and the loss to Granada.

Laporta and Koeman met on Thursday at the restaurant Vía Veneto in Barcelona, along with vice president Rafa Yuste. Journalists waited for them outside. All three left in the same vehicle after eating. Laporta didn't make any comments other than saying the meeting had been relaxed.

SPORT have learned that was the case. There was a warmth between the three, who have met several times since Laporta has been elected, often in more discrete circumstances.

Koeman's future was not included in the order of the day. What happens with the Dutch coach beyond the end of the season is one of the great unknowns at the club, along with Lionel Messi's contract renewal. Laporta, in this sense, didn't assure Koeman that he will complete his two-year deal. There was no ratification and there won't be until the season officially ends.

Until now, the objective has been to win time to analyse everything that's happened in a complicated year in a calm way. The president, club sources say, has respect for Koeman and for his work in difficult times. It's a special link because of everything Koeman means to the club, but at the same time he doesn't feel like he is his coach and he needs to decide if he's the ideal man to lead the club next season.

The club's financial situation will weigh on any decision. The club would have to pay off the final year of Koeman's contract. But it must wait for now.

The official reason offered by the club for the meeting is related to sporting results and performances in recent weeks, as Barça have taken steps back following a brilliant run. Koeman was given homework after that Levante draw and that's why he turned up at the meeting with a folder that hid documents so as not to expose where Barca, according to the coaching staff, have failed when it's mattered. Whether or not those explanations convinced Laporta and Yuste remains to be seen.




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