Ronald Koeman – a Barcelona legend
Nic at the FC Barcelona blog writes:
Ronald Koeman will always be remembered for scoring the winning goal in the 1992 European Cup Final at Wembley. For those lucky enough to see him play regularly in his six seasons at Camp Nou, there are many other great memories. Koeman was a great leader who led Barça from the back. Playing in the middle of a three-man defence was never going to be easy for a player who was not so fast, but Koeman made up for it with good positioning and a quick mind.
He moved to Barça from PSV Eindhoven for a fee of approximately 1,000 million pesetas (â‚¬6million) in the summer of 1989. He had already won the European Cup with PSV in 1988. Johan Cruyff originally wanted him to play just in front of the defence, but the rise of a youngster called Josep Guardiola made Cruyff put Koeman in defence.
Koeman was strong in the tackle and he had to be, due to his lack of speed he knew he couldn’t catch many players if they got past him. However, his main strengths were when he had the ball. Koeman had tremendous vision and a pinpoint pass, his 40-metre crossfield passes to Txiki Begiristain or Hristo Stoichkov gave Barça more attacking options. He was also very cool on the ball, it didn’t matter if an opponent was pressurizing him, he nearly always managed to bring the ball out and find a team mate.