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21.08.2007 14:11

Rijkaard adding to success

Sergi Nogueras

Frank Rijkaard is about to start his fifth season on the Barça bench. Only Johan Cruyff, who was manager for eight years, has ever been in charge of the first team for as many consecutive league seasons.

Rijkaard took command of the first team on August 30, 2003, winning 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao in his first official match. And he is now embarking on season number five, and only Johan Cruyff, another Dutchman, can claim to have been the first team coach at Barça for as many consecutive seasons.

Making history at Barça

Frank Rijkaard has now been boss for an even longer stretch than another compatriot of his, Rinus Michels, who was manager for six seasons but over two different periods. The first lasted for four seasons between 1971 and 1975, and he returned in 76-77 and 77-78.

Helenio Herrera and Louis Van Gaal also spent four years in charge at Barça, both also over two different periods. 'HH' was here in 58-59, 59-60, 79-80 and 80-81, while Van Gaal’s first period was in 97-98 and 99-00 and he came back for the first half of 02-03.

First division leader

Frank Rijkaard is, for the second season in a row, the longest serving manager in the top flight. He is followed by Villarreal’s Manuel Pellegrini (starting his fourth season), and Juande Ramos (Sevilla), Quique Sánchez Flores (Valencia) and Gregorio Manzano (Mallorca), who are all starting their third campaigns at their respective clubs.
Rijkaard adding to success
Jack Greenwell
The first official manager in Barça’s history was Jack Greenwell. The Englishman was in charge for seven years from 1917-24, although this was before the league championship was set up in 1928. Greenwell would return to the club for two further seasons in 31-32 and 32-33.

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