Disastrous Meeting With Ronald Koeman Key to Lionel Messi’s Decision to Leave Barcelona

    Koeman hasn’t had the best start to life as Barca manager… | JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

    Well, well, well. The Lionel Messi saga continues to evolve.

    While an underwhelming 2019/20 campaign ending in pure humiliation and the incompetence of the Barcelona board have been attributed as the two main factors for Messi’s discontent in Catalonia, it appears the appointment of Ronald Koeman has also been key to the Argentine’s decision to move on.

    The Dutchman joined the club on a two-year deal last week following the sacking of Quique Setien after just seven months at the helm in the aftermath of Barça‘s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

    Quique Setien, Lionel Messi
    Quique Setien was sacked following the 8-2 defeat | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

    The arrival of Koeman – a bona fide legend at the club – was initially regarded as a positive step in convincing Messi to stay at the Camp Nou, but things appeared to have taken a turn.

    AS reports that the Argentine’s decision to leave the club was made following his first meeting with his new manager.

    Koeman’s words towards the 33-year-old are said to have left him unhappy. The former Everton boss reportedly told Messi: “The privileges in the squad are over, you have to do everything for the team. I will be inflexible, you have to think about the team”.

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    And here we are…with Messi creating a storm via fax, expressing his desire to leave Barcelona this summer and his intention to activate a clause to terminate his contract at the club.

    Spanish radio station El Larguero adds that Barça have responded to Messi by telling him they want him to continue and end his career in Catalonia.

    Ronald Koeman presented as Barcelona manager by president Josep Maria Bartomeu | JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

    This was the hope of Koeman upon his arrival, as he announced plans to make the 33-year-old the cornerstone of his new project at the club, raising optimism over Messi’s future.

    However, unless this is all a big stunt from the Argentine to force the resignation of Bartomeu, it doesn’t appear the Dutch boss will have a chance to work with the Barcelona superstar.

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