Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The rival in the Champions League

He gave up his career and began his coaching career, first as an assistant to Maarten Stekelenburg and then to Bert van Marwijk. Mark van Bommel gained his first head coach experience at PSV Eindhoven when he played against Barça in the 2018/19 season, before later spending a short stint on the Wolfsburg bench With the help of another old acquaintance of Barça fans, Marc Overmars, stop off in Antwerp, Barça’s tomorrow’s rival in its Champions League debut, in July 2022.

The latter became sporting director of the Belgian club in the first half of last year, shortly after the sex scandal that led to his departure from Ajax, and did not hesitate to put his compatriot on the Antwerp bench with an excellent result. They achieved the double last year after not winning the league since 1957. This year they have already won the local Super Cup against Mechelen.

His time at Barça

Van Bommel also scored a double at Barça. He only played one season at Camp Nou, 2005–2006. At Frank Rijkaard’s request, he arrived with PSV Eindhoven’s letter of freedom. The Dutch coach wanted more muscle in the midfield and Van Bommel shared a line with Deco, Barça’s current sporting director, and Xavi, the current coach.. Also with Edmílson and a young Iniesta who asked for minutes in the first team.

The Edmílson-Deco-Xavi triangle was the starting point for Rijkaard, with Van Bommel ahead of Iniesta, especially in European competition. The Dutchman, who benefited from a serious knee injury suffered by Xavi and players like Henk Ten Cate, Rijkaard’s assistant, was ahead of the Fuentealbilla player in many games. One of them is particularly remembered by Barcelona fans: the Champions League final in Paris.

The rivalry with Iniesta

Van Bommel started when everyone was waiting for Iniesta, who had to come onto the field to rescue him after the break. He did it for Edmílson and Van Bommel was later replaced by Larsson, who was instrumental in the comeback against Arsenal. The rivalry between the Dutchman and Iniesta, which had already existed before this final, increased and the Dutch midfielder realized that the development of the man from La Mancha was unstoppable and decided to leave the club at the beginning of the following season after had not played a single minute in the first three official games of this course. He moved to FC Bayern Munich for six million euros and scored four goals after 36 games for Barça.

His time at Barça was short but successful and left an impact on him. While with the German team, he paid homage to the Real Madrid fans after his goal at the Santiago Bernabéu. He was also marked by the rivalry with Iniesta, whom he subjected to a harsh circumcision in the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa. Years later he returned to his former home.

Nation World News Desk
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