Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Rijkaard was on his way out

Barcelona president Joan Laporta revealed yesterday that manager Frank Rijkaard was close to an exit after Barcelona lost at home against Real Madrid last December.

The growing pressure from the fans and from within the board lead the president to have a crisis meeting with Rijkaard in which the situation of the team was analyzed and in which Laporta asked the coach if he still had the will and the motivation to go on. Rijkaard answered he was more motivated than ever and that he thought he was capable to turn the situation around. The answer convinced the president and Rijkaard was not dismissed.

Laporta said he thought it was now clear the board took the right decision: “Rijkaard is a skilful manager with clear ideas who knows how to manage a squad. He’s a man from the club, who spreads an image of Barcelona we all want the club to spread. He’s capable, honest and composed. I believe in the manager and what he stands for, he has my total confidence. A change wouldn’t have been the right thing.”

The Barcelona president repeated that, if it was only up to him, Rijkaard could stay on as long as he wants.

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