Donna Vekic suffers mid-air fright ahead of Guadalajara victory in Argentina
By now, the story about the scary incident at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is all over the world. The world, that is, except for in one little corner of the world: in the mind of a coach named Rene Meulensteen.
A year ago, Meulensteen had the unique honor of being named as the new coach of one of the planet’s most storied clubs, FC Barcelona. The former Netherlands manager was hired in mid-December, almost two months before the Spanish giants played their first competitive match, against Valencia. While Meulensteen was getting acclimated to the Catalan coaching ranks before his arrival, on top of that, he also had the misfortune of dealing with the strangest situation imaginable: he was coming to Barcelona only to get fired in six days.
“It wasn’t a great situation, but it was a good situation,” Meulensteen told ESPN FC in an interview this week. “I wasn’t on fire, but something had to happen. I didn’t know that there was a storm coming, but there was.”
Before the storm, the Dutchman had a dream. Back in December, after the hiring had taken place, Meulensteen was in the dressing room of FC Barcelona and spoke with a man who had been a high-ranking figure with the club in the past, and whom he had come to know well.
“I told him that I was looking for a new manager for FC Barcelona and he sent me a message, telling me that a decision had already been made.”
The Dutchman is now out of his job, but it was the message that still resonates, for there was no mistaking the fact that the man who had been a leading figure in the Catalan game for many years, and whose name had become a byword in the country, had been relieved of his duties.
Meulensteen’s own career had also come to an end before he even set foot in Barcelona. A few months after Meulensteen had been hired, Ronald Koeman, a Dutch coach