Did Koeman Push Lionel Messi Over the Edge at Barcelona?

Lionel Messi

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Lionel Messi has sent shockwaves around the football world by telling Barcelona he wants to leave the club after two decades at the Camp Nou.

A traumatic season on and off the pitch for the Catalan giants has seen the club change managers twice in the space of seven months, lose their league title to fierce rivals Real Madrid, and suffer a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Yet new manager Ronald Koeman may just have pushed Messi over the edge at Barcelona during recent discussions between the pair. The Dutch coach riled Messi with one particular comment, according to Ole.

“Your privileges in the squad are over, you have to do everything for the team. I’m going to be inflexible, you have to think about the team.”

Messi told Koeman during the meeting that he was closer to leaving the club than staying, and it seems that the 57-year-old’s stance may just have convinced the Argentine it was finally time to bring his Camp Nou career to an end.

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Koeman Willing to Make Tough Decisions at Barcelona

Koeman has made it quite clear he’s willing to make difficult decisions at Barcelona since replacing Quique Setien. Indeed the Dutchman’s tough character is likely to be one of the reasons he was chosen to be the next Barcelona boss in the first place.

The 57-year-old announced at his unveiling what he was expecting from his players in the wake of their embarrassing defeat to Bayern Munich.

“I expect always the best, that’s what I like and that’s how it has to be. From now on we are going to work and we are going to train hard. Changes need to be made, the image that the team gave the other day is not the image we want to give, not me, not the president, not the fans, nobody. So it’s time to work hard to recover the prestige that Barca is the best club in the world.”

Koeman has been true to his word too. He’s already informed Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Samuel Umtiti, and Junior Firpo they are not in his plans for next season.

The new Barcelona boss has also spoken to midfielder Sergio Busquets and informed the 32-year-old he is no longer a guaranteed starter, according to Marca’s Alejandro Segura.


Koeman Wanted to Work With Messi

However, Koeman was keen to work with Messi, something that may not now happen if the Argentine is granted his wish to leave the Camp Nou.

“Of course he’s the best in the world and the best players in the world you want in your team, you don’t want him playing against you. For me as a coach I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches.

“For now he still has a contract, he’s still a Barcelona player. I need to speak to him, he’s the captain. We need to work with him and speak to various players. In Messi’s case I hope he stays with us.”

Yet Barcelona appear unwilling to let Messi simply walk away and have informed the captain they “want him to stay, end his career at Camp Nou,” according to Samuel Marsden at ESPN.

It’s not quite clear yet what will happen next, but Messi has made his intentions clear and seems determined to leave the club he joined as a 13-year-old.

READ NEXT: Puyol & Suarez React to Messi’s Decision to Leave

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