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Koeman talks Pedri, Gavi, Messi, Frenkie, Griezmann, Luuk de Jong, Lewandowski, Barcelona stint

Ronald Koeman is a legendary figure at Barcelona for everything he achieved as a player at the club. However, the Dutchman could not achieve the same level of success as a manager at the Catalan outfit.

Having taken over from Quique Setien in 2020, Koeman did lead Barça to the Copa del Rey title. However, a poor start to the last season eventually saw him getting the sack, with Xavi Hernandez taking over the reins.

While Koeman’s stint ended on a sorry note, the Dutchman will be remembered as the manager who gave a chance to youngsters like Pedri and Gavi in the Barcelona first-team setup – players who have now grown into two of the topmost young midfielders in the game.

Koeman recently sat down for an interview with MARCA, during which the former Barcelona manager discussed the rise of Pedri and Gavi, along with various other topics like his compatriot Frenkie de Jong and the exit of Lionel Messi.

Pedri and Gavi

Talking about the growth of Pedri and Gavi at the club and international level, Koeman said: “In my time at Barça there were some very good young players. In the beginning, they also surprised me. Pedri was 17 at the time and Gavi was 16 and they quickly proved to be great talents.

And with time and the experience of playing at the highest level, they have become undisputed at Barça and in the national team. We have to recognise that they have had Luis Enrique who has played them from the beginning. This has to be highlighted.”

Koeman then highlighted that backing young talent is a tradition that has been long followed in his homeland, as well as at Barcelona, while stating that it was not a tough decision for him to thrust Pedri and Gavi into the senior setup.

It’s a very Dutch philosophy. In my country we are used to it. Because of the level of our championship, we give opportunities to talented young people to get experience. Also at Barça, when there have been good youngsters, they have been given opportunities,” he added.

“But it always depends on the coach. In my case, with Pedri and Gavi it wasn’t something very special either because they soon showed that they had to be left in the team and keep giving them more opportunities.”

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