'Return of a legend' - Ronald Koeman announced as Barcelona coach and there will be 'drastic measures'

President Josep Maria Bartomeu confirms new coach will keep Messi, but other stars will go

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New Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is expected to oversee a massive overhaul of the squad after being appointed on Wednesday.

The former Barca star leads them into a new era after their weaknesses were exposed in the 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final.

"More than 30 years after his arrival as a player, Koeman arrives once again as coach at the club that he helped win their very first European Cup back in 1992," Barcelona said in a statement headlined "Return of a Barca legend".

"Koeman, the hero of Wembley, is back," the club added, a day after president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed the Dutchman would take over from Quique Setien.

That night back in 1992, Koeman secured his place in Barca history, scoring the winning goal to claim the Catalan club's first success in Europe's top club competition.

In his six seasons as a Barca player Koeman made 264 official appearances, scoring 88 goals as he shone in Cruyff's 'Dream Team', winning four consecutive La Liga titles between 1991-94.

Lionel Messi will remain the "cornerstone" of Barca with Koeman's arrival, Bartomeu promised.

Setien and sporting director Eric Abidal were both sacked after the Bayern Munich humiliation and Koeman will inherit a side which finished second to arch-rivals Real Madrid in La Liga with five points separating the teams.

But after constant talk that Messi was looking for a way out after spending his entire career at Barca, Bartomeu insisted that Koeman would build his side around the Argentine.

"Messi remains the best player in the world. He is No 1 and he is with us," said Bartomeu.

"Every project we do, we do it knowing that we have the best player in the world ... And in the new project, Koeman can absolutely count on Messi.

"Messi wants to end his career at Barca, he has said it several times. I spoke with Koeman, who told me that Messi was the cornerstone of his project."

epa08609078 (FILE) - Dutch national soccer team head coach Ronald Koeman attends a press conference in Zeist, Netherlands, 12 November 2019 (re-issued on 17 August 2020). Former FC Barcelona player and assistant manager Ronald Koeman is set to take over Spanish La Liga side FC Barcelona to replace Quique Setien, media reports claimed on 17 August 2020.  EPA/JERRY LAMPEN *** Local Caption *** 55621221

The future is not so certain for other players. "The technical secretary and new coach will take drastic measures and they will affect certain players, who we should give a proper farewell to," Bartomeu added.

Bartomeu did not say which players would depart but referred to seven players who were not for sale: Messi, goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, defenders Clement Lenglet and Nelson Semedo, plus recent signings Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and French winger Ousmane Dembele.

Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets, who have been at the club since 2008 and are the longest-serving players after Messi, were omitted from Bartomeu's list, meaning they could face an exit after 12 trophy-laden years in the first team.

Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez, crucial members of the team that won the treble in 2015 as well as the La Liga titles in 2016, 2018 and 2019, were also absent.

"These are players who have given their best days to the club and been part of the club's best years. They have won a lot of trophies and had a lot of success," added Bartomeu.

"Some of those decisions have already been taken by others and some will be taken soon by different people. The players will not be consulted on these decisions. It's very important to listen to opinions but the coach and technical secretary will take the decision together."

Koeman has said coaching Barcelona would be his "dream" job, and he leaves his country's national team after two-and-a-half years in charge to grab the opportunity.

His coaching career has been mixed and he arrives at Camp Nou with the Catalans in crisis, finishing the season trophyless for the first time since 2007.

Why Koeman got his chance

Bartomeu's own position is also under threat according to reports with June's presidential elections moved forward to March 15.

Mauricio Pochettino was also considered as a replacement for Setien but his previous comments dismissing Barca due to his links with rivals Espanyol counted against him.

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