Football News

“I don’t mind a little white lie” – Koeman confirms Euro 2020 specific Barcelona release clause

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:24, 4 November 2019

Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman has admitted there is a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave to take charge of Barcelona.

The 56-year-old replaced Dick Advocaat as Oranje manager in February 2018 and has overseen impressive progress, leading the Netherlands to the Nations League final having beat France, Germany and England. This came after the nation had to watch the 2018 World Cup from afar, failing to qualify as they also did for Euro 2016.

Koeman’s work has seen him linked with a return to Barcelona to replace Ernesto Valverde, who has become subject to the wrath of the club’s fans.

Will Koeman leave for Barcelona? Five things to know…

  • Koeman became manager of the Netherlands national team in February 2018.
  • He has since led them to the final of the Nations League, beating France, Germany and England.
  • The Netherlands are also on the brink of qualifying for Euro 2020.
  • Koeman has been linked with becoming Barca manager as Valverde’s future becomes increasingly unclear.
  • But the 56-year-old insists a Barcelona clause in his contract only comes into action after Euro 2020.

Despite Barcelona sitting top of La Liga after 11 games, the Blaugrana have already lost three games – the same amount they suffered last season – and their playing style has caused fans frustration. Most recently, Barcelona surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose 3-1 to Levante when Blaugrana teams of the past would have strolled to victory.

This has led to speculation surrounding Valverde’s future, with Koeman – who spent six years at the Nou Camp as a player – among those linked with replacing him after a clause in his contract about Barcelona was revealed by sporting director of the Dutch Football Federation, Nico Jan Hoogma.

But Koeman has insisted the clause is only active after Euro 2020 while also committing his immediate future to the Netherlands.

“The reveal was a bit unlucky from Nico-Jan,” he told Fox Sports.

“Let’s say it nicely. It shouldn’t have happened and we talked about that. You feed a rumour that isn’t interesting.

“When I joined the Dutch national team, they’ve asked me whether or not to share the info with everyone, but I don’t mind a little white lie once in a while.

“The clause only involves Barcelona and it’s only valid for a moment after the Euro 2020. I’m not leaving now. That’s 100 per cent sure.”

The Netherlands currently sit top of their qualifying group for Euro 2020 and face Northern Ireland and Estonia in the upcoming international break knowing their future is in their hands.

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Koeman: Only Barcelona can take me away from the Netherlands

After working as an assistant manager for the Netherlands and Barcelona following his retirement from playing, Koeman got his first managerial role with Vitesse in 2000.

Since then, the Dutchman has managed the likes of Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord, Southampton and Everton before taking charge of the Netherlands last year. And Koeman admits only Barcelona could turn his head away from the Oranje.

“In my opinion, you join as a national coach for a two-year period,” he added.

“After the Euros, there will be an evaluation and maybe the KNVB (Dutch FA) says ‘We did so bad at the tournament, we won’t go on’. Then we won’t proceed.

“But I have the opportunity to leave for one club and for one club only. I can easily say I won’t leave the Dutch national team for any other club in the world. I’ve mentioned quite often this is my dream club.

“It was a slip of the tongue from Nico-Jan. Maybe he thought ‘everyone knows that already’.”