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On Saturday, Ronald Koeman will be experiencing his first ever El Clásico as Barça manager, almost exactly 31 years after his first ever encounter with Real Madrid as a player.
The date was 7 October 1989, with his compatriot Johan Cruyff on the bench and a lot of questions being asked of the team after losing three of their first five league fixtures.
And matters didn’t seem to have improved when Madrid took the lead at Camp Nou after just five minutes, after Koeman himself had brought down Emilio Butragueño in the area. Mexican Hugo Sánchez converted from the spot.
Julio Salinas equalised just five minutes later and the 1-1 scoreline held for most of the match, but Barça were piling the pressure on Paco Buyo’s goal and finally got the goals they deserved – and they both came from the boots of the Dutchman who is now managing the team.
Both were penalties, and both were converted with nerves of steel. On 74 minutes Koeman out Barça a goal ahead, and with just one minute of regular time remaining, he did the same thing again.
However, several players had encroached on the area and the kick had to be retaken. Unfazed, Koeman scored again to secure a 3-1 victory for the Catalans.
He would score three more goals in different Clásicos over the years before leaving Barça for Feyenoord in 1995. But now he’s back, and ready to enjoy his first Clásico in the flesh for a quarter of a century.