'It was not awkward at all' - Dest says relationship with Barca boss Koeman is strong despite USMNT decision

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Dest Koeman composite
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The fullback opted to turn down the Netherlands when the manager was in charge, but there is no ill-will lingering from that decision

Sergino Dest confirmed that there is no awkwardness between himself and Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman after the fullback turned down the former Netherlands boss' advances to remain with the U.S. men's national team.

Dest was the subject of a battle between the U.S. and the Netherlands in 2019, with Koeman attempting to lure the fullback to the Dutch team after his breakthrough at Ajax.

In the end, though, Dest opted to remain with the U.S., having played for the team throughout his youth career.

Coincidentally, Dest and Koeman have now joined forced at Barcelona as the USMNT defender made the move to the Camp Nou this summer.

And he says there is no ill-will regarding his decision as his relationship with Korman remains strong.

“It was not awkward at all,” Dest told reporters on Monday. “In that time that I chose between the Netherlands and the U.S., I just told him honestly that I didn’t want to play for the Netherlands and I wanted to continue playing for the U.S. national team.

"It’s not his fault or something, so we just keep our relationship good. And after a while he called my agent and asked me if there was a still a chance you can play over here, and I was definitely willing to play in this beautiful club, and when we met for the first time after that it felt natural.”

Dest has already shown plenty of confidence in the USMNT, having guaranteed a victory over Canada in the Nations League last fall before helping the team come through on the guarantee.

And, with stars like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna and Tyler Adams joining him in the squad going forward, Dest is confident that the term can contend on the international stage going forward.

“Everybody is hungry, and everybody wants to achieve something with the U.S. and I think that’s a good sign,” Dest said.

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“We all want to win the World Cup, achieve great things, not only personally but also as a team for the U.S. I think we are the guys that have to do it, and we all have to keep concentrated, because if you play at a big club and you’re gonna be like ‘O.K., I already made it,’ then you can’t achieve anything.

"I hope, really hope, everyone keeps doing what they’re doing and always wants to develop themselves even more than right now.”

He added: “We haven’t achieved really big things yet with the U.S., so I think everybody wants to be the first one, and that’s why everybody is so motivated to develop yourself and to win the first big trophy for the country.”

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