Primera Division

Koeman: No conflict with Lionel Messi

The Barcelona captain came close to leaving the Camp Nou for the first time this summer, but will now play under the Dutchman

 
10:59am on Wednesday 16th September 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Ronald Koeman insists there are no problems between himself and Lionel Messi, as the troubles the Argentine had were with the club, not him.

A few weeks ago, Messi sent shockwaves through European football when he sent a fax to Barcelona requesting the termination of his contract, allowing him to move to another club on a free transfer.

The Blaugrana hierarchy refused the request, and pointed to his €700m release clause that would have to be triggered for him to leave.

Messi has become disillusioned with life at the Camp Nou both on and off the pitch, as in the 2019/20 season they failed to win silverware for the first time in 12 years.

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At boardroom level, he has criticised the performance of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

The Argentine would eventually perform a u-turn and announce his intention to stay at the club, not wanting to enter into a bitter parting of ways with the team he has been with since he was 13-years-old.

One of the reasons for Messi's disgruntlement was Barca's embarrassing exit from the Champions League as they were destroyed 8-2 by Bayern which led to Quique Setien being sacked.

Koeman was brought in as head coach a few days later, and reportedly told Messi in his first conversation with the player that his level of influence would not be at the same level anymore.

However, despite that, the Dutchman says things are running as normal with regards to himself and Messi.

"That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club," he told Fox Sports.

"I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual."

Barcelona start their La Liga campaign on 27 September with a match against Villarreal at the Camp Nou.

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