Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman says rumours of firing 'probably true'

Barcelona's head coach Ronald Koeman gestures during a Group E Champions League soccer match between Benfica and Barcelona at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. (Armando Franca/AP)

BARCELONA, Spain — Ronald Koeman said Friday that Barcelona's leadership has not spoken to him about his future, but that he has "eyes and ears'' to catch the rumours swirling about his possible firing.

Spanish media has been rife with reports that Barcelona president Joan Laporta is close to making a coaching change after Wednesday's 3-0 loss at Benfica, the team's second loss in as many Champions League games this season.

"It is a complicated situation,'' Koeman said the day before his team visits defending champion Atletico Madrid.

"The president was here this morning, but I didn't see him because I was preparing for the game,'' he added. "Nobody has told me anything, but I have eyes and ears and I know that things are being leaked. They are probably true, but nobody has told me.''

Koeman will not be in the dugout for what could be the former Barcelona defender's last match in charge while he serves the second of a two-game suspension for complaining at the end of their recent 0-0 draw at Cadiz.

The top names linked to replacing Koeman are led by former Barcelona star Xavi Hernandez, Italy great Andrea Pirlo and Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.

Martinez brushed off questions about Barcelona on Friday when he announced Belgium's squad for the Nations League final four.

"I'm not going to comment on my personal situation because I never do it as a coach,'' Martinez said. "Now we are facing an incredible opportunity of being at the Nations League finals, so that's the only thing that matters. Anything that you could ask about myself or rumors is not relevant for this press conference.''

The Atletico match is the last before an international break in the club calendar. That window could give the club time to bring in a new coach.

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