The man from Rosario was called up by Koeman for the match against Gimnàstic de Tarragona this Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
In times when the clock seems to run much faster than usual, that already anthological Borufax seems part of an ancient history book. However, only 18 days have passed since the sending of that document, which shook the football world and threatened to end a 20-year relationship, and just 8 since Lionel Messi confirmed that he would continue to play in Barcelona. This afternoon, the Rosario will put on the Blaugrana shirt again.
It will be in the first game of the team in the preseason under the command of the new coach, the Dutch Ronald Koeman. And it will also be the first meeting, even if it is not a friendly, after the catastrophic 8-2 against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League in Lisbon. Barça will face Gimnàstic de Tarragona, from the third division of Spanish football, at the Johan Cruyff stadium of the Joan Gamper Sports City from 2pm.
With just five days of work, Messi will assume this commitment. The captain of the Argentine national team returned to practice on Monday, after a week of absence and the harsh conflict he had with the club after expressing his willingness to terminate his contract and leave, something that he finally did not achieve. With his discontent in the open, now he must face a season of rebuilding.
“I always said, Messi is the best player in the world. He showed it in the last few years and he will show it this season, “said Koeman on Friday, during the telematic press conference prior to this friendly. “When he is in full physical shape, it is very important,” added the DT, who in his first meeting with the footballer had heard from his mouth his desire not to continue in the team and that now he will have it among his own.
Those who were not summoned by the Dutch for this meeting were the Uruguayan Luis Suárez, the Chilean Arturo Vidal and the Brazilian Rafinha Alcántara, who seem to have the hours counted in Catalonia. The three will not be taken into account for this season and are in search of a new destination. The one of Suárez could be Juventus, although in the last days the name of Atlético de Madrid arose. In the case of Vidal, his arrival at Inter is practically resolved.
In this first friendly, Koeman’s plan, as he explained on Friday, is for the 25 summoned to play, but for none to play for more than 45 minutes, so it is presumed that Messi will start the duel on the bench and enter in the second half . “It’s difficult when you have such a short preseason before the first game,” said the coach.
So far, Barça has one more friendly scheduled: on Wednesday, also at the Johan Cruyff stadium, they will face Girona, from the second division. The first official match, corresponding to the third date of the Spanish League, will be the weekend of September 26 and 27 at home against Villarreal. Later he will have to catch up and recover the matches of the first two days, against Elche and Athletic de Bilbao, which will be postponed.