How Many Teams From Europe Qualify For World Cup FC Barcelona – The Rijkaard Years

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FC Barcelona – The Rijkaard Years

Frank Rijkaard is a world-renowned football player and coach known for his aggressive, no-nonsense style of play. His tenure as manager of FC Barcelona (known to his fans simply as Barça) was marked by success and controversy.

The period when Rijkaard came to FC Barcelona was one of turmoil for the club. The last few years had been very disappointing, accentuated by the comings and goings of players and managers, including the betrayal of vice-captain Luis Figo, who left the team to join rivals Real Madrid. Joan Laporta, the newly elected president of FC Barcelona, ​​was very keen to change things for the team and he started by bringing in Dutchman Rijkaard as manager in 2003. Rijkaard’s appointment came as a surprise to fans FC Barcelona because of his lack of experience and tarnished reputation.

Rijkaard had made a name for himself as a player for AC Milan years earlier. Although he has played for other teams before and after, it was during his time as a player for AC Milan that he was best known. Rijkaard was known for his aggressive style and hot temper, which brought him many victories and controversy, respectively.

By the time he sat in the Barca manager’s chair, however, his temper was under control. He had already done two years in the Dutch national football team, leading them to the semi-finals of Euro 2000, and two years in charge of Sparta Rotterdam, where he did not do so well. This remarkable performance seemed to have lit a fire under the young manager, as he entered FC Barcelona with a new purpose. Rijkaard was now known simply as a no-nonsense manager with little flash. He let his and his players’ actions speak for themselves on and off the field. They were just out to win the game in the most impressive way possible.

Although he started slowly (losing to arch-rivals Real Madrid in December 2003), Rijkaard quickly turned the team around. FC Barcelona finished the 03-04 season as runners-up in La Liga before Rijkaard brought in new players to round out the team. The addition of the new roster allowed the club to go on to win La Liga for two consecutive years in 04-05 and 05-06.

Rijkaard became the first Barca coach ever to win twice at Santiago Barnebeu, the site of their opponents. He was also nominated for the UEFA Team of the Year in 2005 and honored in 2006 for his contributions to the European Cup. He also managed the team to victory in the 2005–06 Champions League, which made him only the fifth person ever to win the European Cup as a manager and player.

After these victories, however, came a drought. The following two years were not so great for the team, resulting in a loss to Manchester United in the semi-finals of the ’07-’08 UEFA Champions League. There was a lot of speculation after this about Rijkaard leaving the club, and that because 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 been replaced by good prospects. What this means for the future of the team is yet to be seen. With the fickle nature of football club presidents and supporters, it remains to be seen how Guardiola will measure up to his predecessors.

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