Ronald Koeman is happy that he can still have Lionel Messi this season. In his second press conference as Barcelona coach, he said he was disappointed with the short preparation for the new season.
Koeman lets everyone play for 45 minutes in exhibition game
“Messi is the best, I’ve said that before,” said Koeman on Friday. “He has shown for years that he is an important player and I hope he will succeed again this coming season.”
The Argentinian star player aimed for a departure from the Catalan club, but tied in after ‘Barça’ held him to his 700 million euro departure clause. The six-time World Footballer of the Year still has a contract for one season with the club where he has played his entire career.
Messi (33) resumed training this week, after he had stayed away from the first sessions under Koeman. “We have to make sure that he is in the best condition to play as soon as possible,” said the former national coach. “It’s fantastic that he is part of Barcelona this season, everyone is very happy with that.”
Lionel Messi trained individually earlier this week. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Barcelona will play the first exhibition match under Koeman on Saturday. The team will compete against Gimnàstic Tarragona, which plays in the Segunda División B.
“All players will play for 45 minutes,” Koeman announced. “I like to see intensity in our play, we want to have the ball and if we don’t have it, we have to put a lot of pressure.”
Barcelona has not made any purchases since Koeman succeeded Quique Setién’s layoffs. Miralem Pjanic (Juventus), Trincao (Braga), Matheus Fernandes (Palmeiras) and Pedrì (Las Palmas) have already been recorded. This is offset by the departure of Arthur (Juventus) and Ivan Rakitic (Seville).
Koeman has informed Luis Suárez, Arturo Vidal and Samuel Umtiti that they are allowed to leave. Orange internationals Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay, among others, are associated in the media with a transfer to Camp Nou.
At the press conference, Koeman did not talk about the transfer rumors, he focused on the current group.
“It is a difficult preparation, because we only have four weeks until the first games. Many players have played international matches and are only now coming back.”