Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said he was deeply affected by the arrest of Josep Maria Bartomeu, the former president of the club. Koman described the person who appointed him coach of the team as an “exceptional person”, stressing that the case harms the club’s reputation.
Spanish authorities arrested Bartomeu – who appointed Koeman last August, but resigned in October to avoid a lack of confidence – on Monday, along with Barcelona’s CEO Oscar Jarraud and two others, over what the authorities described as an investigation into alleged crimes related to mismanagement and financial corruption.
Bartomeu and Jarrow were released today, although the investigation that began last year before Koeman’s appointment is still open.
At a press conference – held before hosting Seville in the second leg of the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday, as the team seeks to compensate for the 2-0 loss in the first leg – Coman said, “When I heard the news, I was shocked because I know Bartomeu and Jarrow well. I feel sorry for them, I spent time.” Good with them for such a short period, and Bartomeu has always been an exceptional person for me. “
“This is not good for the club’s standing, but we have to wait and see what happens (in the investigation). I was not present at the time, so I cannot talk about it. We just have to focus on our work, especially tomorrow’s game,” he added.
Barcelona is currently leading an interim council led by Carlos Teskets since Bartomeu’s resignation, but members will elect a new president next Sunday.
The arrest of Bartomeu is the latest in a long line of institutional problems the Catalan club has faced last year, including a mounting financial crisis, but Koeman said he did not regret accepting the task of coaching Barcelona.
The Dutch coach said, “You cannot know what will happen in the future. When Barcelona contacted me I was convinced to take on the task, and I realized that the conditions were difficult. The club was losing financially and there must be changes in its squad and reliance on young players, but I tried to do my best and what I could.” I felt it was right. Life is full of ups and downs, opportunities and problems, and you have to try to solve them. “
Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-0 on Saturday in the league and got a boost in the speedy recovery of young midfielder Pedri from a muscle injury, although defender Ronald Araujo is likely to be absent from the match.