Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has explained what he told captain Lionel Messi after Wednesday’s impressive 2-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League in Turin.
The visitors ran out comfortable winners at the Allianz Stadium thanks to goals from Ousmane Dembele and Messi. The manager and captain were spotted chatting and embracing warmly after the match.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 29, 2020
Koeman was asked after the game what the pair discussed and was happy to open up on their conversation, as reported by Marca.
My relationship with Leo has never been complicated. We have spoken clearly in the meeting we had. I think he has done everything for us to win the games. The only thing I have told him after the match is that the matches must be killed off earlier. We have created, it is part of our offensive game and with it we always create many opportunities.
Relations between the two men certainly seem to have improved from the rather cold handshake they exchanged in a pre-season win over Girona back in September.
Qué imagen… Messi y Koeman, en el amistoso vs. Girona. pic.twitter.com/PQ0Yj9YSF9
— SportsCenter (@SC_ESPN) September 16, 2020
Messi’s goal was his third of the season from seven appearances in all competitions for Barcelona. All three goals have come from the penalty spot and the captain is yet to score from open play.
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Messi Dubbed the ‘Harry Potter’ of Soccer
Messi also picked up an assist in Wednesday’s win, teeing up Dembele for the opening goal with a gorgeous cross-field pass. The captain was involved in all of Barca’s best play and was a constant threat.
Lionel Messi completed more take-ons (6) and created more chances (5) than any other player on the pitch against Juventus.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 28, 2020
Former Juventus striker Christian Vieri was full of praise for Messi after the match when talking about the Argentina international on CBS Sports, as reported by AS.
An amazing Barcelona, there was no game. They could’ve scored six, seven goals easy. They played fantastic. Messi is a magician, he’s the Harry Potter of soccer and when he stops playing, I’m throwing my TVs away. I’m not going to work no more on TV, I’m going to watch Netflix, that’s it, because when he stops there’s nothing else to watch.
Messi’s goal was also his 70th in the group stages of the Champions League, more than any other player has managed, according to UEFA.
Messi Due for a Rest?
The Barcelona captain has played every single minute for club and country this season which means he could be due a rest. Barca’s next game is against Alaves at Mendizorroza on Saturday, and Koeman will need to decide whether to start his captain again.
Barca ran out 5-0 winners on their last trip to Alaves which suggests this could be an opportunity to give Messi a breather, particularly as the team is set for another busy week.
Dynamo Kiev visits the Camp Nou on Wednesday in the Champions League and Real Betis follows three days later in La Liga before domestic football is paused for the final international break of 2020.
Koeman is also without Philippe Coutinho currently due to injury but does still have plenty of options to replace Messi if he feels his captain needs a break with Dembele, Ansu Fati, Antoine Griezmann, and Martin Braithwaite all fit and available.