Ronald Koeman ‘not confident’ Lionel Messi to extend Barcelona stay
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has admitted he is not convinced Lionel Messi will choose to renew his contract at Camp Nou.
The Argentine was embroiled in a famous clash with the club last summer which led him to ask to leave the club and refuse to show up for training in an attempt to end his 20 years of association with Barcelona.
Eventually, Messi decided to stay, refusing to sue his beloved team to make his wish come true, but his future remains on hold as he only has six months left on his current contract. While he’s not supposed to, he’s technically free to talk to overseas teams about a free transfer this summer.
Things recently took another dramatic turn as Messi threatened to sue the club after his record-breaking £ 492million contract leaked to the media – something Barcelona have denied responsibility for, and most fans don’t know whether Messi will choose to stay or not.
“I’m not sure about that,” Koeman told The Athletic before the contract leaked. “I hope, yeah, about that because he’s still a great player and continues to win games for us, for the team.
“I love being his coach, if you look at his qualities every day in the training sessions it’s amazing. Of course, he came to Barcelona when he was young. And I still don’t see Leo Messi in another shirt. than the Barça jersey. “
One of Koeman’s first jobs at Barcelona was talking to Messi. When he arrived in August 2020, Messi was scheduled to leave Camp Nou with Manchester City being named as a likely suitor, but a transfer never materialized.
The drama off the pitch led to a drop in form from Messi, who admitted he was “carrying the brunt” of it all, and Koeman admitted it was a sticky situation to deal with.
“It was a difficult time because he is still the best player, but he was angry with certain situations at the club,” he said. “And he wasn’t happy to be in a team that lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals. Of course he was angry, he had to leave, he wanted to leave the team.
“First of all, what I said at the club was, ‘OK, that’s not my problem. It’s a problem between the club and Leo Messi. And you have to solve this ”. Finally, the club said: “We are not doing a transfer for him. He needs to stay ”. It was a difficult time for Leo but he finally accepted it.
“I spoke to him in his house before I started the season and I made plans with him and he was really excited. I knew he was having issues with the club and I was out of it. I said to Leo, ‘I’m really happy if you stay. If you don’t stay that’s your decision and that’s what you need to deal with with the club. If you stay you will be part of the team and that will be your position to get the best out of yourself ”.
“Little by little, he accepted this situation. And look at how he’s been playing the last few weeks, he’s really involved in the club, in the team. But nobody knows what will happen in the future. ”
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