Decline and defiance leave Koeman a dead man walking at Barcelona

Open warfare with the president and the team’s results and style make it a matter of time before the manager is sacked

Carlos Del Cerro Grande got there before Joan Laporta could but few expect the Barcelona president to be far behind. It was just before midnight on Thursday when the referee approached the touchline and raised the red card, handing Ronald Koeman his marching orders and everyone else an inescapable metaphor. Suspended for something he said, the Dutchman may have sat on the Barça bench for the last time, even if he does survive until Sunday’s meeting with Levante at the Camp Nou – and only the cost of replacing him and the lack of an alternative makes that likely now.

“In this country, they throw you out you for nothing,” Koeman said afterwards. When it came to the card, he may have had a point; when it comes to the club, there is far more to it than that. This isn’t nothing, this is everything. Down to 10 men after Frenkie de Jong was sent off, it had finished 0-0 at 14th-placed Cádiz, Barcelona’s third consecutive game without a win leaving them seven points behind the leaders, Real Madrid, with a game in hand. They have won only one of their past five and that was an uninspiring 2-1 victory against Getafe, who have lost every game.

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