Miralem Pjanić claims he was disrespected by Ronald Koeman in brutal interview
"He had a cross against me from the beginning."
Miralem Pjanić was one of many misguided signings Barcelona made during Josep Bartomeu's tenure as president. Bringing in an ageing player who was never likely to break into the starting XI seemed a waste of resource at the time, and has proven to be exactly that since.
But this is not the fault of the player, who was still entitled to be treated with respect as a member of the playing squad.
Following his departure from the club for Turkish side Besiktas, Pjanić has revealed his side of the tragic tale that saw him fade into the background while at Barcelona, hammering Ronald Koeman's management, in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca.
Among a series of revelations and allegations, Pjanić claims he was disrespected and that Koeman had a "cross against me from the beginning."
"I don't know what he wanted exactly," Pjanić said of Koeman when he first arrived at the club.
"He didn't try to explain things to me or find a solution. I would go to ask him what he wanted from me, positionally or what I was doing well or badly.
"He didn't have problems with my play and didn't give me answers. Time went on and the situation went from bad to worse, without any reason."
Pjanić continued: "I was being professional, so this is difficult to understand."
The Bosnian midfielder's main issue with Koeman was his lack of communication.
"I'd have preferred things to be said to me directly, but it was what it was," he said.
"It was a very odd way of communicating and it's the first time I've ever experienced this. I've had a very good relationship with all of my coaches. I don't know what happened, I honestly don't know. He didn't want responsibility or confrontation, because I guess that couldn't be handled."
He went on to explain that from the very beginning there were problems.
"My situation was complicated from the beginning. I got there after two weeks away, started to train little by little, alone, to prepare myself to start with my teammates. Three, four, seven, 10 days went by and the coach never came to talk about the season, about me, to speak about anything. It was strange, but fine.
"It was tough physically and mentally and it killed my confidence because I had no communication with him. It was very strange.
"The coach is the one who says who plays and who doesn't, but there are ways of doing things.
"He had a cross against me from the beginning. It was hard to accept."
Asked what he thought Koeman's issue with him was, Pjanić was unsure.
"I've honestly asked myself a lot of times, wondering what I did wrong. Maybe he didn't like that I said I wanted to play more public," he said.
"But any coach would say 'okay, this is a competition and I like to hear that'. That might be it, but I'd have liked him to tell me to my face that I wasn't for him. It didn't exist though and I don't understand him. It's complicated because it's the first time it's happened to me and I've never seen behaviour like that before."