BARCELONA – Lionel Messi wanted to leave Barcelona a few days after Ronald Koeman’s arrival on the Barça bench. Almost three months after that storm, the coach does not doubt the commitment of a captain who, he warned, “I have never doubted. I see him train every day and from the first moment I already said that he is the best in the world … And the best I want him on my team in the world. “
“As I said after the Betis game, if Messi is okay he will always start,” the Dutch coach made clear in his interviews with the Catalan media, discovering how his relationship with the Argentine was developed from the first moment.
“They had told me that he was unhappy and I went to talk to him at his house. He gave me his reasons and I explained what I wanted to change. I was totally honest with Leo, I told him that the only things that were in my power were questions football: my job, my game system, his position on the field, his importance … In the end, staying was his decision, “he clarified, discovering other details of his talk.
“We talked about how to put pressure on the rival but, in general, the feeling I had with him was good. It is important because Leo has shown me that he is an ambitious person, that he always wants to win things, that he wants to continue being the best although has had its problems with the club, “he summarized.
“I want the best for the team and the best for the team is that Messi is well, like now, plugged in and put into the team. He showed it the other day against Betis, when he entered the second half. Barça already has been, is and will be a better team with Messi than without him ”, he summarized.
As captain and undisputed character in Barça, Messi received all the support of a Koeman who, recognizing that he has doubts “if we talk about whether this is my ideal team because in some positions we are quite limited”, he was “satisfied” with the work and performance den hard core locker room.
“The veterans have reacted; they have seen that things have to change,” he warned, although he was also sincere when talking about the team’s options in Europe. “To win the Champions League we have to improve; right now Bayern is ahead,” he warned.