Ronald Koeman is set to become the new Barcelona coach and will count on Lionel Messi as “the pillar” of his new project, club president Josep Bartomeu said on Tuesday. Bartomeu addressed the current crisis at the Catalan club, Messi’s contract situation and the imminent appointment of Koeman among other things.
“He wants to end his playing career at Barcelona,” Bartomeu said about Messi in an interview with Barca TV. “Koeman is saying that the pillar of his project is Leo Messi. He has a contract until 2021. I talk to him regularly and he knows there’s a project with a new coach here. We’re all disappointed at the moment, but we’re motivated by the new project. His father told me that there was a strong disappointment. This is correct, but since Sunday we have to think about the future. It’s about changing the mentality.”
Bartomeu went on to confirm that Koeman was and has been their leading candidate for the coach’s job for some time. “If nothing goes wrong, he’ll be Barcelona coach next season. He knows our philosophy very well and he believes in the club’s style of play of previous coaches. Back then, we denied it, but now I can explain.
The first thing he has to do is talk to the captains. In December, we started talking to various options. Koeman told us he had a responsibility with the Netherlands ahead of the Euros. He was the first coach we contacted. Coaching Barcelona is a dream for Koeman.”
The president also gave an update on possible summer departures. “Messi is untouchable and non-transferable. He knows it, we all know it. But there are various non-transferrable players like Ter Stegen, Lenglet, Semedo, De Jong, Griezmann, Dembele. They are players who we count on a lot and who have come to spend many years at Barça.”
In a period of so much for uncertainty at the club, Bartomeu comments would have erased some doubts. However, some questions are still left unanswered and it’s only a matter of time before we will get to know such answers.