New Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman already has a clear plan for captain Lionel Messi ahead of the new 2020-21 season.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 7, 2020
The Argentine finally returned to training with the club on Monday after failing to secure a move away and is working individually at the Ciutat Esportiva, due to La Liga protocols, before rejoining the group.
Koeman has already decided he will be lining his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation next season and will use Messi as a “false right-winger,” according to Mundo Deportivo’s Fernando Polo.
The Argentine will be given license to roam across the attack, looking to go for goal or make a killer pass. Koeman also wants Messi to forget about going in search of the ball by dropping deep and instead wants his captain to focus purely on attacking.
Koeman will get to see his players in match action for the first time on Saturday when they take on Nastic in a pre-season friendly at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.
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Messi and Koeman Discuss Future
Messi and Koeman met on Monday for a brief chat before the 33-year-old started training. The discussion was the first between the two men since Messi told the club he wanted to leave.
According to Jordi Batalla at Mundo Deportivo, Koeman told Messi he was happy he was staying but made it clear he only wants players at the club who are committed to the cause.
Messi insisted that was the case and vowed to get back to his best form for the Catalan giants. Koeman also said that Messi will be treated as a “special player” but will not enjoy the same privileges as under previous regimes.
Barcelona Working Hard Under Koeman
Meanwhile, Koeman has Barcelona working hard as they step up preparations for the new season and a first La Liga game against Villarreal. The players had a double training session on Tuesday and will do the same on Wednesday.
Workout 1 ✅
Workout 2 ✅ pic.twitter.com/s5yJdBHCys
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 8, 2020
The new boss has increased the length of training sessions at the club from one hour to 90 minutes and has also upped the intensity, according to Marca’s Luis F. Rojo.
Koeman has also told players they must arrive at the training ground one hour before the session starts and seems determined to instil a new work ethic and disciplinary standards at the Camp Nou.