Lionel Messi

Messi returns to Barca training for the first time since exit request

The Argentine looked certain to leave the Camp Nou but announced on Friday that he will remain at the club

 
4:43pm on Monday 7th September 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Lionel Messi has returned to Barcelona training for the first time since asking to leave the club two weeks ago.

After the Blaugrana's embarrassing performance in the quarter-final of the Champions League which saw them demolished 8-2 by Bayern, Messi waited until the dust settled before faxing the club requesting the termination of his contract, freeing him to talk to other clubs.

That led to huge speculation about where he could end up, with Manchester City looking the most likely destination due to their financial spending power as well as Messi's relationship with Pep Guardiola.

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However, last Friday he performed a u-turn and announced he would stay at the club for at least another year, while at the same time mentioning his dissatisfaction at some aspects of how the club was being run.

On Monday morning, he reported to first-team training for the first time since he requested to leave and then announced he was staying.

When Ronald Koeman took over from Quique Setien as Barcelona head coach, one of the first things he did was inform Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal, two friends of Messi, that they had no future at the club. Veteran midfielder Ivan Rakitic was also recently sold

The Dutchman is aiming to freshen up the Blaugrana squad and add some youthful exuberance to a team that had become to reliant on older players.

For the first few days, Messi will be training alone due to coronavirus measures as last week he did not take part in Koeman's first full week taking charge of season preparations.

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