Ronald Koeman sacking by Barcelona 'only a matter of time'

Ronald Koeman was a Barcelona player and won four La Liga titles. But he is now a manager facing difficult times.
Barcelona will sack Ronald Koeman, their manager. This could happen even before the next game, according to Guillem Balague, a Spanish football expert.

Barca has lost both of their Champions League group games by a score of 3-0. Wednesday's loss at Benfica was particularly devastating.

They are unbeaten in La Liga, but they are sixth after three draws from six matches.

Balague stated, "It's only a matter of time before we hear that Koeman was sacked."

After their flight from Lisbon to Barcelona, there was a meeting of the decision-makers including President Joan Laporta. They visited the training ground which is located near the airport and are putting together a plan.

Timing is crucial, not only for Koeman's removal but also to put together a plan.

Since March, when Laporta was elected club president, Koeman has had a difficult relationship with Laporta.

The ex-Dutch boss had to deal with the aftermath of Lionel Messi's departure as Nou Camp legend. He is also responsible for the club's financial woes.

"Koeman will not be in the dugout at Ateltico Madrid's game on Saturday due to his suspension. So they are pondering: 'Does this make sense to do it now, or wait until after?' Balague added.

"Either way it's a matter of when, and not if."

Who could replace Koeman

Roberto Martinez, Belgium manager, has been the favorite to assume the Barca job.

Martinez is a favorite of Laporta's and that Martinez has strong ties with Jordi Cruyff (Barcelona's sporting advisor), though Martinez will not be part of any appointment process.

Balague stated that Martinez was what Laporta is seeking. He is a person who understands the club and has an admiration of Johan Cruyff's philosophy. He has also adapted well to wherever he has been. He plays the style of football that the president likes: building from the back and playing through the thirds.

There are also other names.

Marcelo Gallardo from River Plate is a candidate, but it is believed he wouldn't be willing to leave the Argentine club halfway through a season. Andrea Pirlo, ex-Juventus manager, has also been mentioned.

Martinez could be challenged by a Barcelona legend of football.

Balague stated that Xavi was the best suited for everyone's needs. He is loved by the fans, media, and he is willing to assume control. There won't be any money issues, and he has a good understanding of the club.

"He would offer the hope everyone needs, given the negative narrative. He would do this while the finances are sorted out, which will take some time.

"But Laporta doesn't feel ready and doesn't want him to burn out. He needs convincing."