While it’s been clear for a while that Lionel Messi has been thinking about leaving Barcelona, you had to wonder if a change in manager would reinvigorate him.
Ronald Koeman’s appointment as manager should result in a new era and hopefully he will steer the club back towards their traditional values, and many would think that Messi would be excited at the thought.
A recent report from Football Espana has confirmed that the two did hold talks, but it actually sounds like Koeman may have forced him out the club instead.
They quote AS in saying that Koeman told Messi that “the privileges were over”, and he made it clear that he’s going to focus on the team rather than pandering to individuals.
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It sounds like his plan was to create a system that Messi would be expected to fit into rather than building things around him, but you could also argue that’s exactly how football should be.
Messi is getting older and he doesn’t work anywhere near as hard as he used to, so Barca couldn’t rely on him in the defensive phase at all.
While it’s possible that these claims are just a result of someone putting two and two together but coming up with five, it would be very interesting if it’s true.
If a football team ever allows a player to become bigger than the club then they are always going to have issues, but you could also argue that Messi is so good that it’s still worth it.