Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman responded to renewed talk of interest in captain Lionel Messi from French champions Paris Saint-Germain in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
The Dutch coach made it clear that he’s not too bothered by the speculation surrounding the Argentine who is out of contact at the end of the season and able to leave as a free agent.
If you ask me if I’m interested in Neymar or Mbappe I’ll say yes. It’s the same thing. You don’t know what will happen in the future. Everyone has their opinion. We need to try and have the best team possible.
Messi asked to leave Barcelona last summer but it remains to be seen what he plans to do next. He told La Sexta’s Jordi Evole in December that he will make a decision on his future at the end of the season.
PSG Talk Up Messi Move
Koeman was responding to comments made by PSG sporting director Leonardo about Messi. The Brazilian told France Football that his team remain interested in signing the 33-year-old forward.
Great players like Messi will always be put in PSG’s list. Of course, it is not the time to talk about it or to dream about it. But we are sat at the big table of the clubs following this closely.
Actually, no, we are not sat yet but our chair is reserved there, just in case. Four months [before the end of the season] in football, it is an eternity, especially at this time.
Yet there are also doubts over whether PSG could afford to land Messi. The club’s owners are unsure if such a move would be economically viable due to the Argentine’s huge wages and the need to operate within Financial Fair Play rules, as reported by Sport.
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Koeman Discusses Messi Ban
Barcelona will of course have to cope without Messi for their next two matches following his red card in the final of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday. The Catalan giants have appealed his two-game ban and Koeman is hoping to get it reduced.
I was told by the club it’s two games, the club does not agree, we’ll see what happens. There are things that can be defended, but this is a club issue. I hope the suspension is reduced but if not we’ll play two games without Leo.
Koeman also offered an update on Messi’s fitness. The Argentine was rushed back from injury against Athletic and ended up playing extra-time, but the Barca boss says he looks in good shape.
We’ve trained, he trained, he was motivated. I haven’t seen anything strange regarding Leo. Everyone is sad about losing the Super Cup final but we have to move forward, improve things. That game showed us we have to improve and we are on that path and Leo is with us on that path.
He trained fine without problems this morning. He came from playing 120 minutes and I think he’s doing OK. We’ll see how many games in the end his sanction will be.
Messi’s ban means he misses Thursday’s Copa del Rey tie with Cornella and Sunday’s La Liga clash against struggling Elche. He could make his return at the end of January when Barca play Athletic for the third time in 2021.