Former Barcelona coach, Ronald Koeman, has revealed that he was sacked by the LaLiga giants on a plane with the players sat behind him.
Koeman was handed a two-year contract upon his initial arrival at Camp Nou in August 2020 as he inherited a squad in disarray following a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
The Dutchman managed to steady the ship to a certain extent in his first season at the helm as he delivered Copa del Rey success, but a poor start to the 2021-22 campaign cost him his job.
Koeman was backed prior to the start of the campaign as Barca dealt with the loss of a number of key players amid a financial crisis, including their all-time record scorer Lionel Messi.
However, the Blaugrana quickly fell out of the Liga title race and faltered in the Champions League group stage, and Koeman was dismissed following a 1-0 loss at Rayo Vallecano on October 27.
Club president Laporta, who had previously stood up for Koeman while pointing to his success at Camp Nou as a player, ruthlessly wielded the axe to try and salvage the season, and the 58-year-old was left unhappy with the way he went about it.
“The way Laporta sacked me? One thing that hurt me about it was that the players were sitting behind us on the plane while I had to come and sit next to him,” Koeman said on Dutch TV show Hoge Bomen.
“He always claims that I’m a club legend, prove it then…and act differently!”
Barca turned to another club legend to take Koeman’s spot in the dugout, with Xavi returning to Camp Nou after earning his coaching stripes in Qatar.
The Spaniard was powerless to prevent the team from exiting the Champions League as his tenure got off to a slow start, but their form has improved drastically since the turn of the year.
With the help of January signings Ferran Torres, Dani Alves, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Barca have moved back into the top four in La Liga and made it through to the Europa League round of 16.