Barcelona misfit Miralem Pjanic says he has a “spectacular” relationship with captain Lionel Messi and has insisted he’s not thinking about leaving despite struggling for game time in his debut season at the Camp Nou.
Pjanic was asked to describe his relationship with Messi in an interview with Cristina Cubero at Mundo Deportivo and was full of praise for the way he’s been welcomed to the club by the captain.
“Spectacular. Leo talks to me a lot, he explains things about the environment that at first escaped me. He has been aware of me from the first moment, encouraging me, helping me,” he said. “Spectacular. As a footballer, we will never see another like it. I don’t know what he will do but I would like to be by his side for many years.”
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Pjanic Not Thinking About Leaving
Yet there’s no doubt it’s been a tough first season at Barcelona for Pjanic. The 30-year-old has spent most of his time on the bench and made only six starts in La Liga in 2020-21.
Coach Ronald Koeman has even seemed to prefer 18-year-old Ilaix Moriba over Pjanic in recent games, leading Cubero to ask Pjanic if he was thinking about staying at the club next season.
Pjanic replied, “Yes, of course, I did not sign for Barça to leave the following year, I signed to make history in a club that had been on my path for many years.”
The Bosnia and Herzegovina international faces a tough ask trying to force his way into the Barcelona starting XI. Sergio Busquets, Pedri, and Frenkie de Jong have emerged as Koeman favored trio with youngsters Moriba and Riqui Puig also available.
Pjanic Hoping to Convince Koeman
Pjanic has already made his frustration at his lack of game time clear this season. He said back in December that “it is clear that I want to play a lot more” and added that he didn’t “understand the reason” for being used so sparingly.
Those comments reportedly did not go down too well with Koeman. The Dutchman has been disappointed by the midfielder and reprimanded him for making his complaints public, according to journalist Javi Miguel.
Pjanic says he will keep working hard to try to turn his situation around and explained what he would ask from his manager to try and prove he deserves more minutes at the Camp Nou.
“Continuity, two or three games to show my football. That is what any footballer needs. But I’m going to keep working every training session to earn that opportunity,” he said. “The coach is betting a lot on the young people of La Masía, that is great because it means maintaining a style and betting on footballers that you have trained, I can contribute my experience in important matches.”
There’s no doubt it’s been a disappointing season for Pjanic and that he faces a real battle for minutes, particularly with impressive youngsters such as De Jong, Pedri, Moriba, and Puig now ahead of him in the pecking order.