Ronald Koeman is beloved by Barcelona for scoring the club’s most important goal ever but his reputation will be severely tested this season as he seeks to lead a team in need of major surgery through one of its darkest moments in recent memory.

Among the Dutchman’s many tasks is to ensure Lionel Messi stays motivated after the club’s talisman sensationally tried to leave the club last month before deciding to stay for at least one more season.

Most importantly, he must devise a way to get the team winning again after a first trophyless season since 2008, which was compounded by the humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

La Liga preview: Subdued atmosphere grips new season

Unpopular president Josep Maria Bartomeu clung to the memory of Koeman’s free-kick strike against Sampdoria which delivered Barca’s first European Cup in 1992 when he presented the…

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