Sport Koeman implores Barca to 'focus on the football'
Koeman defends Spanish football level after European defeats
Koeman defends Spanish football level after European defeatsBARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman says it is too early to talk of a decline in Spanish football after his side were thrashed 4-1 at home to Paris St Germain in the Champions League last week and Sevilla were beaten 3-2 by visiting Borussia Dortmund.
Ronald Koeman implored his Barcelona side to focus on the football after admitting the events of the past couple of days are "not good for the club's image".
On Monday, Los Mossos d'Esquadra carried out several searches of the club's premises, prompting Barca to say have "offered up their full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts which are subject to investigation."
According to Spanish news agency EFE, former Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu was taken into custody as part of the probe carried out by the economic crimes department of the Catalan police. EFE said on Tuesday Bartomeu has been provisionally released under charges of unfair administration and corruption of business.
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Presidential candidate Toni Freixa has an investor lined up for Barcelona, but Ronald Koeman is not interested in transfer talk.Toni Freixa, who is one of the three remaining candidates in the running for the role ahead of the election on March 7, has revealed he has reached an agreement with an investor that will make significant funds available.
The investigation is thought to centre around the "Barcagate" scandal, in which it was alleged social media company 13 Ventures were paid by Barcelona to smear club greats such as Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola, Xavi, Gerard Pique and ex-president Joan Laporta during Bartomeu's leadership.
In July 2020, Barca's offices were searched by Los Mossos in relation to those claims, although the club hired Price Waterhouse Coopers to investigate the matter and the global auditing firm found in their favour.
Addressing the chaotic events at a pre-match news conference for Barca's second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Sevilla, head coach Koeman said: "It's not good for the club's image.
"We have to wait and see what happens. I wasn't here, I don't know what happened. We can't do anything, we must focus on football."
Koeman rules out voting in Barca elections as he focuses on crunch Sevilla double-header
Ronald Koeman is staying impartial amid a battle to become Barcelona's new president, keeping all his focus on improving the team's results.Dutchman Koeman declared on Friday that he will not side with a particular candidate, with Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Antoni Freixa the three men vying for the post.
Bartomeu stepped down as Barca president in October ahead of a vote of no confidence in his leadership, a move that followed a close season of turmoil in which Messi attempted to leave Camp Nou.
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Elections to choose his successor are scheduled to take place on Sunday amid another turbulent episode at Barca, with Laporta the favourite to return for a second stint in charge.
It has long-been suggested that a new regime will look to install club legend Xavi as head coach, rumours Koeman says he has no time to focus on.
"I'm not worried about Xavi. I have a contract," he added.
"When we know who the president is, we will have to speak and [he will] show me his way. This week only plays tomorrow's game."
For Koeman the immediate focus is on attempting to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Sevilla, a team they defeated by the same scoreline in LaLiga on Sunday.
'He's had a very good season': Araujo return is great news for Koeman and Barcelona
Ronald Araujo may not have the same status within Barcelona as more renowned names, but he is becoming an increasingly significant player.But now there is another South American whose impact upon the team has been quietly telling, and the anticipated return to action of Ronald Araujo this weekend could have a major impact at a crucial stage of the season.
"We know we have a bad result to come back from, but I think we have a chance. The team is very hungry," he said.
"The team has focused on doing good things. We have to ask for more effectiveness and a clean sheet, which will be vital.
"All clubs go through difficult times. A lot has happened to us this season. We are fighting to win things. In the end what counts is the field, the games, being with the group.
"This is the best place for me, until the last day I will try to do my best for Barca. How long will I be here, it doesn't influence me."
Pedri offered Koeman a pre-match boost by resuming training following the leg injury he sustained during the weekend meeting with Sevilla, but defender Ronald Araujo remains a doubt after a setback when returning from an ankle problem during the same match.
Barcelona presidential election: The key questions ahead of critical vote for club's future .
Sunday represents a significant moment for the future of Barcelona. What could each presidential candidate bring if they win?More than 111,000 members, or socios, will cast their vote either in person at polling stations or by mail to determine who will succeed Josep Maria Bartomeu in the top job.