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May 9, 2008

ivy7y6aydmbrt8o5qo2z.jpgI cannot remember a person who has been ridiculed more than Frank Rijkaard in the last two years, on a second thought may be George Bush. With Real Madrid humiliating Barcelona, supporters and media are jointly after him. He could be the most hated person in Barcelona at this moment. With John Laporta announcing yesterday that Rijkaard will be replaced by Pep Guardiola from July 1st; now its time to pay homage to a great gentleman and a wonderful coach who has given us so much. If you give a thought to why he is being ridiculed so much, its all his own mistakes; yes he has done enough managerial blunders, used players in unimaginable positions but that's not what I am referring to. He gave us a team which after a long time was feared and respected across the world, especially in Europe. You want proof, look at the way Manchester United (the in form most attacking team of present) played against an out of form, out of sort Barcelona. If he is being ridiculed for his managerial skills, it’s because through his initial three seasons he made us forget all the failures of the past.

Rijkaard was a legend as a player. He started his career as a Central Defender at Ajax, moved to Sporting CP then to Real Zaragoza and from their to A C Milan. It was at Milan, Rijkaard became a legend at his favorite position of Holding Midfield. He has been an inspiration to a lot of Holding Midfield players like Vierra etc. His credentials as a player was never in question but his previous managerial records were. Prior to Barcelona he coached Sparta Rotterdam, where he earned the insane reputation of taking the club to relegation first time in his history. His coaching stint with Dutch national team was a much better one, leading the side to Euro 200 semi finals. Hence, when Barcelona gave him the job in 2003-04 season there were pretty huge noises around him. Rijkaard bought Ronaldinho and Edgar Davids that season, but the rest of the squad consisted of many under achieving players who had failed to win a trophy since 1999. Those who are too critical about Rijkaard's two trophies less season should remember that this is not the first time we are suffering this. That season’s start was disappointing with many in media and fans asking for his resignation. Laporta has to be commended here for not listening to the media, particularly when the team was so close to the relegation zone. Those times ESPNSTAR never telecasted Spanish La Liga in India and the only way I could follow the game was through internet. It was heart breaking to get up every morning and read how bad your team performed. But in the second half of the season Rijkaard turned around the club. The team started wining one after another and finished second with a terrific win at Bernabeu. Still remember the Xavi goal set up by Ronaldinho in the dying moments. The next season he would completely revamped team, the old guards were let off and new players were bought in. Players like Deco, Eto, Edmillson, and Marquez combined well with Ronaldinho to win two consecutive La Liga title. The next season he became the only coach to win twice at Bernabeu when Ronaldinho destroyed Madrid. This was a feat even the likes of Cryuff, Van Gaal, Aragones could not achieve. That year he gave the most beautiful present for a Barcelona fan - the Champions League success. Frank Rijkaard with his coaching style turned Barcelona to the most respected side in history. The next two seasons was terrible with winning no trophies. I would attribute it to a lack of effort by players and blunders made by Rijkaard.

As a player Rijkaard was a very temperamental. He once even spat at Rudi Voller. But as a manager he was clam and stable. Even when he had to encounter the bad boy of football - Mourinho, he displayed unbelievable grace. In an era the basic understanding of coaching is mental destruction of opponents by pre press conference sledging, he conducted himself very well. He gave respect to his opponents, event though I believed in last two season he made a habit of taking small clubs lightly. He gave us two La Liga and One Champions league title; but his greatest achievement is the encouragement he gave to the youngsters who came out of Youth academy. He gave enough chance to youngsters; if he could not deliver a Copa Del Rey trophy it was mainly due to the fact that he saw that as a stepping stone for youngsters to the big football. In his time the likes of Messi, Iniesta, Bojan, and Giovani all came out of the youth academy. Every Barcelona fans now looks forward very enthusiastically towards club’s youth system. His last two seasons were not that great, actually terrible if we go by the first three seasons. But no one can deny the fact that he was among the most successful coach Barcelona has ever seen. When you consider this has happened with the likes of Van Gaal, Wenger, Ferguson; you have to accept that there is nothing unnatural in these failures. He might have been a little lenient in training and this could have led to his downfall. But have to sympathize with him because the same approach was giving results the earlier season. Now it’s the time to move on - for both Rijkaard and the Club. It's a responsibility for each Barcelona fans to farewell him with respect he deserved. So keep your white Handkerchiefs in the pocket and get up on your feet and applaud this wonderful gentleman and wish him all the success for the future.

As a Barcelona fan I have only one thing to say
"Thank You Frank, You've been Fabulous."

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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