August 21 – New Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman says he does not know if he can convince Lionel Messi to stay after the Argentine superstar reportedly threatened to quit following last week’s 8-2 Champions League humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Koeman left his job as Netherlands boss to sign a two-year deal with Barca following the sacking of Quique Setien, his first task being to try and secure Messi’s future after the club failed to win a trophy for the first time since 2007-08.
Spanish reports claims Messi cut short a holiday in the Pyrenees to tell Koeman his future was away from the Nou Camp.
“He’s still got a contract and is still a Barcelona player,” Koeman said. “At this point I need to speak to him because he is the captain. We need to work with him and speak with various players. We need to make some decisions but in Messi’s case I hope he stays with us.
“He is the best player in the world and the best player in the world you want in your team, you don’t want him playing against you.”
Koeman, who played for Barcelona for six seasons, warned that any players who lack commitment or professionalism will be kicked out.
“What we need to do is give a different image to what we gave against Bayern, that’s not the Barca we or the fans want to see,” he told a press conference at his unveiling.
“We’re going to work very hard to build a strong team but we’ll have to make changes because the image of the other day is not what we want. We’ll have to work hard to recover our prestige. Barca are still the biggest club in the world. Now we have to work hard to make sure Barca gets back to where they should be. There is enough quality in the team to demand the best results and to win trophies.”
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