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FC Barcelona fires coach Ronald Koeman after loss to Rayo Vallecano

FC Barcelona fires coach Ronald Koeman after loss to Rayo Vallecano
FC Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman reacts during a La Liga soccer match against Real Madrid on Sunday at Camp Nou Stadium in Spain. Photo by Enric Fontcuberta/EPA-EFE

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Spanish soccer club FC Barcelona fired head coach Ronald Koeman after Wednesday's 1-0 La Liga loss to Rayo Vallecano.

Barca's loss to Rayo Vallecano was the team's third defeat in their past four league games. On Sunday, Barcelona suffered a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in the first edition of El Clasico this season.

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"FC Barcelona have relieved Ronald Koeman of his duties as first-team coach," the club said in a statement Wednesday. "The president of the club, Joan Laporta, informed him of the decision after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano.

"Koeman will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday at the Ciutat Esportiva. FC Barcelona wishes to thank him for his service to the club and wishes him all the best in his professional career."

ESPN reported that Barcelona will begin talks with former Barca team captain Xavi Hernandez on Friday about the coaching vacancy. However, the club isn't expected to name a replacement until after the international break in November.

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As a result, Barcelona is set to use an interim coach in its next three games against Alaves, Dynamo Kiev and Celta Vigo.

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The 58-year-old Koeman leaves Barcelona in a bad spot, with the club sitting ninth in La Liga and in danger of missing out on the Champions League knockout phase for the first time in two decades. The Spanish side has yet to record an away win in any competition this season.

Former Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu hired Koeman 13 months ago. Koeman replaced Quique Setien after Barca's 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League in August 2020.

In his lone full season in charge, Koeman guided Barcelona to the Copa del Rey and a third-place finish in La Liga. Paris Saint-Germain eliminated Barca during the round of 16 in last year's Champions League.

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