Frank Rijkaard is a world-renowned football player and coach who is known for his unclean aggressive playing style. His time as manager of FC Barcelona (known simply as Barça to his fans) was marked by success and controversy.
The period in which Rijkaard was brought into FC Barcelona was one of the upsets for the club. I have been very disappointed over the last few years, with players and managers coming and going, including the betrayal of vice-captain Luis Figo, who left the team to become Real Madrid’s rivals. Newly elected FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta desperately wanted to change things for the team and started by introducing Dutchman Rijkaard as manager in 2003. Rijkaard’s appointment surprised FC Barcelona fans because of his inexperience and reputation. tarnished.
Rijkaard had made a name for himself as a player for AC Milan years earlier. Although he played for other teams before and after, it was during his tenure as a player for AC Milan that he became well known. Rijkaard was known for his aggressive style and warm attitude, which brought him a lot of victory and controversy, respectively.
By the time he sat in Barça’s manager’s chair, however, his attitude was under control. He had already spent two years at the Dutch national football team, advancing to the Euro 2000 semi – finals, and two years managing Sparta Rotterdam, where he did not fare so well. This performance seemed to ignite a fire under the young manager, as he came into FC Barcelona with a new purpose. Rijkaard was now known simply as an unclean manager without much flash. He let his own actions and those of his players speak for themselves on and off the field. They just had to win the game in the most impressive way possible.
Although he started slowly (losing to arch rivals Real Madrid in December 2003), Rijkaard soon turned the team around. FC Barcelona finished the season 03-04 as second place at La Liga before Rijkaard brought in new players to secure the team. The new roster prompted the club to go on to win La Liga for two consecutive years in 04-05 and 05-06.
Rijkaard was the first Barca coach to ever win twice at Santiago Barnebeu, grounds stomping their rival. He was also named to the UEFA Team of the Year in 2005 and was honored in 2006 for his contribution to the European Cup. The team also won the 2005-06 Champions League, making it the fifth ever manager to win the European Cup as a manager and player.
After these victories, however, came a drought. The following two years were less impressive for the team, and as a result they lost to Manchester United in the Semi-Final of the UEFA Champions League ’07 -’08. There was a lot of speculation after this about Rijkaard leaving the club, as they had not won a trophy for two years. Finally, on May 8, 2008, it was announced that Frank Rijkaard would be leaving the team at the end of the season.
Barca B coach Josep Guardiola has now replaced Rijkaard. Many players have left the team and good expectations have been put in their place. What this means for the future of the team remains to be seen. With the fierce nature of football club presidents and fans, it remains to be seen how Guardiola will measure up to his predecessors.