Ronald Koeman and Joaquín will face off against each other on Saturday afternoon at Camp Nou, when Koeman’s Barcelona comes up against Joaquín’s Real Betis.
It won’t be the first time they’ve butted heads. As chronicled by Diego Picó in Marca, the pair worked together at Valencia toward the end of the 2000s, a spell that culminated in Koeman’s sacking five matchdays into the 2007/08 season.
“He was a €25m player who wasn’t worth €25,” Koeman said of Joaquín. “I was more interested in wine,” Joaquín replied.
The first incident, according to Picó, occurred when Argentine midfielder Éver Banega turned up to training late and worse for wear only for Koeman to name him as a starter that weekend.
Soon after, Joaquín arrived 15 minutes late to training himself – he had a problem with his car when dropping his children off at school. Koeman dropped him from the next game.
From there, things got worse. Their Cold War reached a climax in the Copa del Rey final against Getafe at the Vicente Calderón – not only did Joaquín not start, but he was sent out to warm up during the first half and the entire second half without ever coming on.
Asked recently whether he would have recommended Koeman take over at Betis, Joaquín replied “not even as a kitman!” according to Marca.
When asked would he greet Koeman at Camp Nou on Saturday, the Andalusian was unequivocal. “He’s not going to greet me and I’m not going to greet him.”
Featured image courtesy of Marca.