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Koeman opens up about Messi relationship

Koeman reveals all about his relationship with Messi after Barca icon's transfer saga

September 16, 2020 By Ali M.
The newly-appointed coach opened up about his relationship with Leo after the Argentine's failed attempt to leave the Camp Nou.

With Barcelona set to kick off their new La Liga campaign in less than a fortnight, Ronald Koeman has opened up about his relationship with Lionel Messi after the club legend's recent transfer saga.

The 33-year-old legend had dominated the headlines after handing in a transfer request in a bid to leave Camp Nou. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner was reportedly ready to leave his home of 20 years for Man City after growing frustrated with the sporting project – or lack thereof one.

La Pulga locked horns with the board after Bartomeu and Co. refused to let him go, meaning Leo had to either take the club to court or remain another year. Messi gave a candid interview to Goal, revealing that he opted for the latter, admitting that the only reason he will don a Blaugrana jersey in 2020/21 was because the board would not facilitate his exit.

This brought about an interesting question. Many began wondering whether Koeman would freeze the skipper out of the squad, or use him sparingly in comparison with previous seasons, as he stated upon his appointment that he would only rely on players who are committed to his project. 

The newly-appointed boss has addressed this issue, pouring cold water on the belief that there could be friction between the pair. Speaking to Fox Sports, the Dutchman stated that the conflict Messi had was with the club and no one else.

"That has passed me reasonably well," Koeman said about the transfer saga. "That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club. I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual." 

The Messi debacle, however, is not over but rather postponed until next summer as he is in the final year of his contract and does not appear ready to commit his numbered days to the Catalan giants. One key factor could be the squad and whether the club are able to build a competitive team between now and 2021.

However, Koeman has admitted that Barcelona look likely to head into the 2020/21 season with a near-identical one to last season. This means the addition of Trincao and Pedri, alongside the return of Coutinho, could be the only upgrades to the squad that lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League and missed out on the Spanish top-flight crown.

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