The manager of FC Barcelona Ronald Koeman and Lionel Messi are working together contrary to viral perception. The 57-year-old Dutch tactician confirmed this ahead of the club’s friendly match against Girona billed for today, September 16.
Ronald Koeman who played for Barcelona between 1989 and 1995 and won ten major titles with the club including four La Liga titles before he left as the club’s legend, returned to the club this summer to head their coaching department.
The former Netherlands national team head coach replaced Quique Setién on 19 August 2020, five days after Barcelona suffered their worst humiliation in a Champions League quarter-final match against Bayern Munich. The match which ended 8-2 in favor of Bayern didn’t only end Setién’s coaching career at Camp Nou, he led to a series of shakeups at the club.
Amid all the crises that became the by-product of Barcelona’s humiliating defeat, Ronald Koeman was forced to face the worse of them all which was Lionel Messi’s desire to leave the club. The 33-year-old Argentina international felt things were not working well at the club. Even the arrival of Koeman couldn’t inspire him to have faith in the club’s project.
Ronald Koeman and Lionel Messi reportedly held meetings over the player’s desire to leave the club but the coach’s effort didn’t do as much magic as it was expected. Messi still insisted that he wanted to leave.
The player finally decided to continue with the remaining one year left in his contract when he and his representatives led by his father who doubled as his agent, Jorge Messi, realized that he could not leave the club for free and no club could afford his €700 million release clause.
When he announced that he has decided to stay, the announcement didn’t only excite the club’s fans and the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu who was at the center of the whole contract tussle, it excited Koeman who has always said Messi is very important for his plans at the club.
So, Ronald Koeman wants those suspecting that he and Messi are not having a good working relationship to realize that whatever crisis that existed didn’t involve him directly as a coach.
“That has passed me reasonably well”, Ronald Koeman said. “That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club. I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual.”
“We are now working towards the new season and I assume that we are going to do it with this group with which we are preparing.”
Ronald Koeman and Lionel Messi will begin their Spanish La Liga campaign on September 27, 2020, against Valencia.
Messi first played for Koeman in a friendly match against Gimnastic on September 9. The friendly match ended 3-1 in favor of Barcelona. He is expected to play today when the club meets Girona in a friendly match at 18:00.
The Elegance of Lionel Messi pic.twitter.com/AvGvFJPRu7— ً (@Ifcjamie11) September 9, 2020