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‘Players who are better than him’ – Barcelona boss Koeman ruthlessly responds to Miralem Pjanic

‘Players who are better than him’ – Barcelona boss Koeman ruthlessly responds to Miralem Pjanic

Pjanić’s first strike against Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman

Miralem Pjanić’s torrid time at Barcelona officially came to an end five days ago with the iconic Bosnian international midfielder heading off to Turkish giants Besiktas in a season-long loan.

It was hardly the fairytale move for Pjanić after his arrival in Barcelona – one that saw Arthur go the other way to Juventus – was meant to add creativity to the Blaugrana midfield, and instead, saw the Bosnian make 30-appearances across all competitions in 2020-21 while failing to produce a single goal or assist during his time at the Camp Nou.

Miralem Pjanic

BENEVENTO, ITALY – APRIL 07: Miralem Pjanic of Juventus in action during the serie A match between Benevento Calcio and Juventus at Stadio Ciro Vigorito on April 7, 2018 in Benevento, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

But according to Pjanić, much of his struggles in the Catalan capital came down to a lack of communication from Barcelona headmaster Ronald Koeman, claiming the former Dutch international killed his confidence;

“I’ve honestly asked myself a lot of times, wondering what I did wrong. Maybe he didn’t like that I said I wanted to play more public. But any coach would say ‘okay, this is a competition and I like to hear that’. That might be it, but I’d have liked him to tell me to my face that I wasn’t for him. It didn’t exist though and I don’t understand him. It’s complicated because it’s the first time it’s happened to me and I’ve never seen behaviour like that before.”

Koeman strikes back with a ruthless response

Such accusations were not going to go unresponded, especially from a firey figure like Koeman who is well-known in those parts after being a Barcelona standout during his illustrious playing days.

According to the former Netherlands boss, Pjanić never made the grade at Barça;

“I think there’s some frustration on the player’s part and I understand that. However, in terms of how we play, our ideas with and without the ball, he’s fallen short of other midfielders.

That’s it. I wish him all the best. It’s been complicated, but we tried and we saw that there are other players who are better than him.”

Regardless of what side of the debate you fall on, the lack of statistical output from Pjanić would suggest that Koeman was justified in having little faith in the Bosnian at the very least.

While no player should ever feel disrespected or belittled, it is hard to say that Pjanić deserved as many chances as he actually received, especially at a club like Barcelona that maintains a level of standard that, under the best of circumstances, borders on perfection.

A reset button for Pjanić will certainly do the player good though, especially when you consider just how good the 102-times capped international has been across the entirety of his career at the top level in Europe.


This article was edited by Ben Browning.