KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Ronald Koeman has been sacked as coach of crisis-battered Barcelona after the former world, European and Spanish champions lost 1-0 to Rayo Vallecano in Madrid.

The shock exit of Leo Messi during the summer has been exacerbated by reveations of the club’s multi-million debts and then poor season start with 15 points from 10 LaLiga matches.

On top of this came Champions League defeats by Bayern Munich and Benfica before the weekend’s home Clasico defeat to Real Madrid then another beating in Vallecas put an end to Koeman’s 16 months in the job he had wanted more than any other.

An emergency board meeting was summoned by president Joan Laporta after the final whistle which swiftly settled the Dutchman’s fate. Reserve coach Sergi Barjuan will take over as caretaker.

Koeman was an old club favourite, right back to his time as a player when his goal at Wembley secured the club’s first Champions League Cup success in 1992.

A club statement said: “FC Barcelona has dismissed Ronald Koeman as coach of the first team tonight . The president of the club, Joan Laporta , informed him after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano. Ronald Koeman has already said goodbye to the squad tonight.

“The FCB wants to thank him for the services provided to the club and wishes you good luck in life and his future professional career.” 

An obvious favourite as replacement will be another old club favourite in Xavi Hernandez, currently successful as boss of top club Al-Sadd in Qatar.