Primera Division

Koeman planning crunch talks with Messi

The new head coach of Barcelona admits he doesn't know yet whether he will have to convince the club captain to stay

10:49am on Thursday 20th August 2020
Martin Macdonald

Ronald Koeman has admitted that he and Lionel Messi need to have a conversation regarding the Argentine's future at the club, but doesn't know if the talks will have to include a pitch for the player to stay.

Last week Barcelona suffered one of the most embarrassing results in their history as they were demolished 8-2 by Bayern in the Champions League semi-final.

Head coach Quique Setien was dismissed shortly after, with Barca ending the season without a trophy for the first time in 12 years.

The lack of success fuelled speculation that Messi had asked to leave the club this summer, with Inter and Man City two mentioned potential destinations.

Koeman was then hired as Setien's replacement and the former Barca man is prioritising a talk with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"He's still got a contract and is still a Barcelona player," said the Dutchman after being unveiled.

"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.

"I don't know if I have to convince Messi [to stay], whether it's that or not. 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.

"As a coach I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches. If he's at the ability and level he has always shown I'd be more than happy for him to stay."

As well as being knocked out of the Champions League, Barcelona surrendered La Liga to Real Madrid and were eliminated from the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage by Athletic Bilbao.

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