Ronald Koeman (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈroːnɑlt ˈkumɑn] (listen); born 21 March 1963) is a Dutch professional football manager and former player who is the manager of the Netherlands national team. Koeman was capable of playing both as a defender and as a midfielder; he frequently played as a sweeper, although he was equally known for his goalscoring, long–range shooting, and accuracy from free kicks and penalties.
|Full name||Ronald Koeman|
|Date of birth||21 March 1963|
|Place of birth||Zaandam, Netherlands|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|*Club domestic league appearances and goals|
Born in Zaandam, Koeman began his career at Groningen before transferring to the Netherlands' most successful club Ajax in 1983, where they won the national Eredivisie title in 1984–85. He then joined Ajax's rivals PSV in 1986, winning three consecutive Eredivisie titles (1986–87, 1987–88 and 1988–89) and the European Cup in 1988. Ronald Koeman is one of five European players to ever win a treble with their club and a cup with their national team in the same year. The other four players are his teammates Hans van Breukelen, Berry van Aerle, Gerald Vanenburg and Wim Kieft. In 1989, Koeman moved to Barcelona and became part of Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team", helping the club win La Liga four years in a row between 1991 and 1994, and the 1991–92 European Cup, where he scored the winning goal of the final against Sampdoria.
At international level, Koeman was one of the stars of the Netherlands national team, alongside Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Dennis Bergkamp. During his career with the Netherlands, Koeman won UEFA Euro 1988 and played at the UEFA Euro 1992, 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups, captaining the team at the latter.
In his managerial career, Koeman has won three Eredivisie titles: twice with Ajax (2001–02 and 2003–04) and once with PSV (2006–07). He is the only individual to have both played for and managed the "Big Three" of Dutch football: Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. Abroad, he had spells in Portugal with Benfica and Spain with Valencia, coaching Los Ché to victory in the 2007–08 Copa del Rey, and managed Premier League clubs Southampton and Everton in the 2010s. He was the manager of the Netherlands national team between 2018 and 2020, finishing runners-up in the 2019 UEFA Nations League. In August 2020, he was appointed manager of Barcelona, with whom he won the 2020–21 Copa del Rey, but was sacked in October 2021, following a poor start to the new season. In 2023, he was reappointed as the manager of the Netherlands national team.
Koeman started his professional career at Groningen, making his debut at the age of 17 years and 183 days in a 2–0 win over NEC in the Eredivisie. This made him the third-youngest player in the club's history, after Piet Wildschut and Bert de Voogt. Thirty-three goals from ninety appearances in his three seasons at the club saw the young defender called up by the Netherlands national team and earn a transfer to Eredivisie champions Ajax. After failing to defend their title in Koeman's first season at the club, the Amsterdam team regained the championship in 1984–85. The following season saw Johan Cruyff take over as Ajax head coach and, despite scoring 120 goals in 34 Eredivisie matches and winning the KNVB Cup, de Godenzonen could only finish second in the league behind rivals PSV.
In the summer of 1986, Koeman controversially transferred to PSV to play for Hans Kraay's champions. Towards the end of the 1986–87 season, Kraay resigned and was replaced by Guus Hiddink, under the management of whom PSV overtook league leaders Ajax in the final weeks of the season to defend their league title. Koeman enjoyed further success with Hiddink and PSV in the following seasons, as the team also won the 1987–88 and 1988–89 Eredivisie titles and the club's first, and to date only, European Cup against Benfica in Stuttgart on 25 May 1988. PSV had also won the KNVB Cup in both 1988 and 1989, making their successes in the two years trebles and doubles respectively. In his three seasons at PSV, Koeman scored 51 goals in 98 league appearances, averaging more than one goal every two matches. During 1987–88 season, he recorded the highest scoring season of his club career, with 21 goals scored in the league.
In 1989, Koeman re-joined his former Ajax coach Johan Cruyff at Barcelona, where he became a member of the famous "Dream Team". During his first season at the club, Barcelona won the Copa del Rey, beating Real Madrid 2–0 in the final. Along with players such as Hristo Stoichkov, Romário, Pep Guardiola and Michael Laudrup, Koeman helped the club win La Liga four years in a row from 1991 to 1994. He scored the only goal of the 1992 European Cup Final with a free-kick from the edge of the 18-yard box against Sampdoria at Wembley Stadium to make Barça European champions for the first time in its history. With this, he became the first player to score in two consecutive finals of different European competitions, having scored Barcelona's consolation goal in a 1–2 defeat against Manchester United in the 1991 European Cup Winners' Cup Final.
Koeman was known for his powerful right-footed free kicks and deadball ability where he scored many vital goals for the team. One of his best strikes in La Liga came in the memorable 5–0 win over Real Madrid in 1994, with his bending free kick making the scoreline 2–0. Koeman was joint-top scorer with eight goals in the 1993–94 UEFA Champions League, in which Barcelona were beaten 0–4 in the final by A.C. Milan at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.
Return to the Netherlands and retirementEdit
After six years and over 200 appearances at Barcelona, Koeman left Spain to return to the Netherlands in 1995. In joining Feyenoord, he became one of the few players to represent all of Dutch football's "Big Three". Koeman spent two seasons in Rotterdam, captaining Feyenoord to third- and second-place finishes in the Eredivisie respectively.
Koeman ended his career with 193 league goals from 533 matches (ahead of Daniel Passarella, who netted 182 goals in 556 matches) during his career, more than any other defender in the history of football.
In April 1983, Koeman debuted for the Netherlands national team in a 3–0 friendly loss to Sweden in Utrecht. This match also marked the first Oranje appearance for his elder brother Erwin. Ronald's first international goal came in September of the same year, in a 3–0 victory of Iceland at Groningen's Oosterpark Stadion.
With the Netherlands unable to qualify for UEFA Euro 1984 and the 1986 FIFA World Cup, Koeman's tournament debut came at Euro 1988 in West Germany, where Rinus Michels' team defeated the hosts at the semi-final stage, with Koeman scoring a crucial penalty to equalize and make it 1–1. After this match, Koeman provocatively pretended to wipe his backside with the shirt of Olaf Thon in front of the home supporters. In the final, the Netherlands defeated the Soviet Union 2–0 at Munich's Olympiastadion to win the nation's only major international trophy. This completed Koeman's extraordinary 1988 after winning the treble with PSV.[a] Both Koeman and his central defensive partner Frank Rijkaard were named in UEFA's Team of the Tournament.
Having retired as a player after his stint with Feyenoord, Koeman became a member of the Netherlands international coaching staff of Guus Hiddink during the 1998 World Cup along with Johan Neeskens and Frank Rijkaard. After the tournament, he was appointed the assistant coach of Barcelona, and in 2000, he was handed his first managerial job as the head coach of Vitesse, where he led the team to a UEFA Cup spot in his only season.
Koeman was appointed the manager of Ajax in 2001. He won a domestic double in 2001–02. Despite regaining the title in 2003–04, Ajax had fallen eight points behind rivals PSV in the Eredivisie. This situation, coupled with Ajax being knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Auxerre, 3–2 on aggregate, led Koeman to resign the following day on 25 February 2005.
In June 2005, Koeman took up the vacant position at Portuguese champions Benfica, following the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni. On 13 August, he won the 2005 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira against Vitória de Setúbal with a single goal by Nuno Gomes. The team finished the Primeira Liga in third place (behind rivals Porto and Sporting CP) and was knocked out of the Taça de Portugal in the quarter-finals by Vitória de Guimarães. This, along with an offer from PSV, sufficed for the manager to leave one year before the end of his contract. Under Koeman, Benfica did reach the quarter-finals of the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League; eliminating Manchester United in the final game of the group stage and Liverpool in the first knockout stage, before losing to Barcelona on an aggregate score of 0–2, who ended up winning the trophy.
In the 2006–07 season, Koeman served as head coach of PSV, as successor to Guus Hiddink. PSV dominated the first season half, keeping competitors AZ Alkmaar and Ajax at a reasonable distance, and PSV seemed almost destined to become champions again. PSV, however, suffered in the second half of the season, also because of injuries of players Jefferson Farfán, Alex and Ibrahim Afellay, obtaining only 19 out 39 possible points. Alkmaar and Ajax regained their momentum, making for a close finish, with all three teams tied at 72 points before the last competition day. Alkmaar played struggling Excelsior in their final match, but did not manage to win. Ajax played at Willem II, but did not score enough goals; it was PSV eventually who triumphed, winning at home 5–1 against Vitesse, and thereby becoming Eredivisie champions, one goal ahead of Ajax.
For the second consecutive season he guided a team to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, this time defeating another English club in the shape of Arsenal in the first knockout stage by an aggregate score of 2–1, before losing 4–0 on aggregate to eventual runners-up Liverpool in the quarter-finals.
On 31 October 2007, Koeman agreed to be the new coach of Valencia after the sacking of Quique Sánchez Flores, starting on 5 November 2007. With Valencia, he won the 2007–08 Copa del Rey, a tournament he previously won as a player with Barcelona. This was Valencia's first Copa del Rey since 1999. The remainder of his tenure at Valencia would prove disappointing: the team would slump to 15th in the league, only two points above the relegation zone, as well as finishing bottom of their Champions League group. A 1–5 defeat by Athletic Bilbao would prove the final straw for Koeman's time with Valencia. He was sacked the following day, on 21 April 2008.
Koeman was appointed manager of AZ Alkmaar on 18 May 2009, after Louis van Gaal, who won the 2008–09 Eredivisie with Alkmaar, joined Bayern Munich. On 5 December 2009, Alkmaar announced that Koeman no longer was in charge of the club, after losing 7 of the first 16 games in the Dutch competition.
On 21 July 2011, Koeman was appointed manager of Feyenoord, signing a one-year contract with the Dutch club as replacement for outgoing trainer Mario Been. Through this appointment, Koeman notably became the first individual ever to serve as both player and head coach at all teams of the so-called "traditional big three" of Dutch football – Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. Moreover, he has completed this in the same order as player and as manager. At the beginning of 2012, it was announced that his contract was extended. In February 2014, Koeman announced that he would leave his position at Feyenoord at the end of the 2013–14 season to pursue other ambitions.
In his first six Premier League games in charge of the club, Koeman managed four wins, a draw and a defeat, propelling Southampton to second place in the league standings and resulting in Koeman being named Premier League Manager of the Month for September. In January 2015, Southampton won all three of their matches, including a first win at Manchester United since 1988, and Koeman was again named Manager of the Month. He led Southampton to a seventh-place finish at the end of the season.
Koeman won his third Premier League Manager of the Month for January 2016, on the way to Southampton's highest ever Premier League finish, sixth place, highest ever Premier League points total, 63, and qualification for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.
On 14 June 2016, Koeman was confirmed as manager of Everton, signing a three-year contract. His brother was again hired as his assistant. In his first season, Koeman led Everton to qualification for the Europa League.
Prior to the 2017–18 season, Koeman was given the largest budget in Everton's history to spend on new players. An estimated £150 million was spent on new players, but Koeman admitted that he had not bought a centre forward to replace Romelu Lukaku, the previous season's squad top scorer who had been sold to Manchester United. Koeman was sacked by the club on 23 October 2017, after his side fell into the relegation zone, following a 2–5 home defeat against Arsenal the previous day. Koeman later stated his belief that the failure to sign Olivier Giroud in the summer transfer window contributed to his sacking.
On 6 February 2018, Koeman was appointed manager of the Netherlands national team on a four-and-half-year contract up to and including the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He replaced Dick Advocaat who resigned after failing to guide the Netherlands to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
On 19 August 2020, Koeman left the national team to become manager of Barcelona. Under his management, Netherlands qualified for a final tournament, UEFA Euro 2020, for the first time since the 2014 FIFA World Cup after missing out on the UEFA Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
On 19 August 2020, Koeman was announced as the new manager of Barcelona, on a two-year contract until 30 June 2022. He took over after Quique Setién had been dismissed from the post following a disastrous 8–2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the quarter final of the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League. In his first competitive game in charge, Barcelona beat Villarreal 4–0 at the Camp Nou in La Liga. On 17 October, Koeman suffered his first loss as Barcelona manager after a 1–0 away defeat against Getafe. On 24 October, he lost the first Clásico of the season to arch rivals Real Madrid by a 3–1 scoreline. That defeat was followed by a 1–1 draw against Alavés, which resulted in Barcelona equalling their worst tally after the first six games in La Liga (8 points, as few as in 2002–03 season).
On 17 January 2021, Koeman managed Barcelona for the first time in a cup final, with his side losing 3–2 to Athletic Bilbao after extra time in the final of the 2020–21 Supercopa de España at the Estadio de La Cartuja in Seville. On 7 February, Koeman led Barcelona to their sixth consecutive away win in La Liga after winning 3–2 against Real Betis, equalling Luis Enrique's feat achieved in the 2015–16 season. On 11 March, Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 against PSG after failing to turn around a 1–4 loss at home, losing 2–5 on aggregate. On 10 April, Barcelona's 19-game unbeaten run in La Liga came to an end after falling to Real Madrid 2–1 away from home in the second Clásico of the season. On 17 April, Koeman led Barça to a 4–0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the 2021 Copa del Rey Final, gaining revenge for the Supercopa defeat at the same venue three months earlier. On 29 April, Barcelona were presented with a golden opportunity to go top of La Liga but failed to capitalize after losing out to Granada away 2–1 despite taking the lead. Barcelona's title charge ended with a disappointment after winning only two of their last five matches and eventually finished third in the league table. Following the end of the season, club president Joan Laporta admitted that Koeman was not his first choice and was looking for a manager, however on 3 June, he confirmed that Koeman would be staying in charge for another season.
Barcelona began the 2021–22 season with a 4–2 home victory over Real Sociedad in La Liga. However, in their next ten matches, they had a disappointing run of games with 4 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats including consecutive 3–0 losses against Bayern Munich and Benfica in the Champions League group stage and a 2–0 away defeat against title contenders Atletico Madrid in La Liga. On 24 October, following Barça's 2–1 defeat against Real Madrid at home, Koeman became the first manager since Patrick O’Connell in 1936 to lose three consecutive Clásicos. On 28 October, the club announced that Koeman had been relieved of his duties as manager following the team's 1–0 away defeat against Rayo Vallecano. A week later, Xavi was announced as his replacement.
Return to the NetherlandsEdit
On 6 April 2022, Koeman was announced as returning to role of manager of the Netherlands national team, and would commence in the role on 1 January 2023 after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, following the third retirement of Louis van Gaal. On 23 January 2023, he was introduced as Dutch national team coach, with an intention to go back to a 4-3-3 formation.
Style of playEdit
A composed player on the ball, Koeman was capable of being deployed both as a defender and as a midfielder, and he frequently played as a sweeper, due to his vision and his ability on the ball. Regarded as one of the best and most prolific attacking central defenders of all time, due to his eye for goal, Koeman was renowned for his long-range passing, as well as his shooting accuracy and power from distance, especially on free kicks; he is the top scoring defender in world football, and Barcelona's top scoring defender. A versatile set piece specialist, Koeman was nicknamed the King of free kicks, and was capable of striking the ball with power from long range free kicks, or curling shots on goal from close range; he was also an accurate penalty kick taker. Regarding his unique run-up and approach to taking free kicks and penalties, Rob Smyth of The Guardian commented in 2009: "We tend to associate Koeman with that particular type of free-kick, where he would lace the ball in a manner that was paradoxically sledgehammer rather than silk, yet if anything he was more adept at the seductive, shorter-range curler. As with his penalties, when he would charge towards the ball like a man with murder in mind only to tap it gently into the net, part of the skill was in the deception. With Koeman, there was more than one way to skin a defensive wall; as all Englishmen know well, he could flippin' flip one as well."
Koeman is the top scoring defender in world football, and Barcelona's top scoring defender, with 90 goals in all competitions. An accurate free kick and penalty kick taker, Koeman was nicknamed the King of free kicks throughout his playing career, and is Barcelona's second-highest goalscorer from free kicks, after previous club captain Lionel Messi, with 26 goals from set pieces in all competitions; he is also Barcelona's second-highest scorer from penalties in La Liga, behind Messi once again, with 46 goals from spot kicks, and the highest scoring defender in La Liga from penalties. With 67 goals, he is the second most prolific defender in La Liga history, behind Sergio Ramos. He currently holds the record for 25 consecutive successful penalty conversions in La Liga.
During the transfer as a manager to Barcelona in 2020, Koeman was filmed for a 3-part docuseries entitled, Força Koeman. The series can be seen on Dutch streaming service "videoland" from 17 February 2021.
Koeman stated that he has been visiting the Portuguese region of Algarve since 1988 after the victory of PSV in the 1988 European Cup Final against Portuguese football club SL Benfica. He bought a plot of land with 1,000 m2 (11,000 sq ft) there in 2004 and built a 2,000,000 euro house for him in Vale do Lobo between 2005 and 2006.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||Super Cup||Continental||Other[n 1][n 2]||Total|
- Scores and results list Netherlands's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Koeman goal.
|1||7 September 1983||Oosterpark Stadion, Groningen, Netherlands||Iceland||1–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 1984 qualifier|
|2||9 December 1987||Stadion De Meer, Amsterdam, Netherlands||Cyprus||3–0||4–0||UEFA Euro 1988 qualifier|
|3||16 December 1987||Diagoras Stadium, Rhodes, Greece||Greece||1–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 1988 qualifier|
|4||21 June 1988||Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, West Germany||West Germany||1–1||2–1||UEFA Euro 1988|
|5||22 March 1989||Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands||Soviet Union||2–0||2–0||Friendly|
|6||6 September 1989||Olympisch Stadion, Amsterdam, Netherlands||Denmark||1–0||2–2||Friendly|
|7||15 November 1989||De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands||Finland||3–0||3–0||1990 FIFA World Cup qualifier|
|8||28 March 1990||Republican Stadium, Kyiv, Ukraine||Soviet Union||1–1||1–2||Friendly|
|9||30 May 1990||Praterstadion, Vienna, Austria||Austria||1–3||2–3||Friendly|
|10||24 June 1990||San Siro, Milan, Italy||West Germany||1–2||1–2||1990 FIFA World Cup|
|11||22 September 1993||Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna, Italy||San Marino||7–0||7–0||1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier|
|12||13 October 1993||De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands||England||1–0||2–0||1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier|
|13||19 January 1994||Stade El Menzah, Tunis, Tunisia||Tunisia||2–2||2–2||Friendly|
|14||1 June 1994||Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands||Hungary||3–1||7–1||Friendly|
|Vitesse||1 January 2000||2 December 2001||79||40||23||16||132||77||+55||50.63|
|Ajax||3 December 2001||25 February 2005||151||94||30||27||322||147||+175||62.25|
|Benfica||8 June 2005||8 May 2006||49||27||11||11||64||38||+26||55.10|
|PSV||1 July 2006||31 October 2007||63||38||11||14||118||54||+64||60.32|
|Valencia||5 November 2007||21 April 2008||34||11||9||14||38||47||−9||32.35|
|AZ||18 May 2009||5 December 2009||24||11||4||9||44||30||+14||45.83|
|Feyenoord||21 July 2011||31 May 2014||118||67||23||28||237||137||+100||56.78|
|Southampton||16 June 2014||14 June 2016||91||44||17||30||140||93||+47||48.35|
|Everton||14 June 2016||23 October 2017||58||24||14||20||85||74||+11||41.38|
|Netherlands||6 February 2018||18 August 2020||20||11||5||4||43||18||+25||55.00|
|Barcelona||19 August 2020||27 October 2021||67||39||12||16||138||75||+63||58.21|
|Netherlands||24 January 2023||Present||0||0||0||0||0||0||+0||—|
- La Liga: 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94
- Copa del Rey: 1989–90
- Supercopa de España: 1991, 1992, 1994
- European Cup/UEFA Champions League: 1991–92; runner-up: 1993–94
- European Super Cup: 1992
- Dutch Footballer of the Year: 1987, 1988
- UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 1988
- UEFA Champions League top scorer: 1993–94
- UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll: No. 26
- Eredivisie: 2006–07
- Copa del Rey: 2007–08
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