Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman insists there is no conflict between himself and Lionel Messi, following the club great’s decision to reverse course and stay with the Catalan side.
Messi informed Barcelona of his desire to leave the club following the 2019-20 season, a frustrating campaign with Barca failing to win any trophies and finishing with a humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
However, the 33-year old reversed course earlier this month, telling Goal that he would stay at the club rather than become embroiled in a messy legal battle.
Messi has now returned to Barcelona ahead of the new season with his future in doubt, having entered the final season of his contract.
Koeman, who was brought in to replace Quique Setien after the defeat by Bayern, has said that any conflict that exists is between the player and the club, and that he and Messi have spoken multiple times since the Argentinian declared his intention to stay at Camp Nou.
“That has passed me reasonably well,” the former Netherlands national team coach told Fox Sports. “That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club. I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual.”
Part of Messi’s gripes with Barcelona involved the club’s poor recruiting in recent seasons, as club greats like Xavi and Andres Iniesta have departed and were not adequately replaced.
Though Barcelona have been linked with a host of names this summer, Koeman has admitted that his side appear likely to begin the new season with the squad they currently have.
“We are now working towards the new season and I assume that we are going to do it with this group with which we are the preparation,” Koeman said.
Lyon star Memphis Depay, whom Koeman coached with the Netherlands, is one of the players who has been most consistently linked with a move to Camp Nou.
However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has said that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu personally told him the Catalan giants did not have the funds to make an offer.
“The president of Barca indicated to me on Sunday that Barca were suffering a lot from the Covid crisis and didn’t have the possibility to make an offer,” Aulas said on Twitter.
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