Former Barcelona wing-back Junior Firpo has spoken out in criticism of Ronald Koeman, the coach who sold him to Leeds United during the summer. Firpo never really got a run under the Dutchman, and he didn’t hold anything back.
“I came to lose my enthusiasm for football and I realised the importance of family,” Firpo said to Cadena SER as carried by Marca. “There were things with Koeman that I didn’t understand, and at certain times he disrespected me and my teammates.
“I asked him [why he wasn’t playing] and he lied to me. At this point I kept asking him, but he told me things that didn’t make sense, like that I trained badly and contaminated the group.
“Ask whoever you want and see what the other staff members say about me. I don’t know why he thought I contaminated the group, I suppose he was referring to my attitude. I don’t know how a young boy who has just arrived is going to contaminate a group that has won everything and been there all their lives.”
Firpo made seven La Liga appearances under Koeman throughout the 2020/21 season, accumulating just 285 minutes. This season, under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds, he’s already made ten appearances in the Premier League, accumulating 652 minutes.
Koeman lost his job at Barcelona at the end of October, after Barcelona lost 1-0 to Rayo Vallecano at Vallecas. Xavi has since come in to replace him, but the fact remains that Barcelona face a long road back to return to the elite of European football.
The Blaugrana lost 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last night, meaning they finished third in their group and are now headed for the Europa League. In La Liga, Barcelona are in seventh place, 16 points off first-placed Real Madrid.