Barcelona midfielder Matheus Fernandes has revealed a brutal conversation he had with coach Ronald Koeman after he asked the Dutchman about his lack of game time at the Camp Nou.
The youngster arrived at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2020 from Brazilian side Palmeiras for a fee of €10 million on a five-year contract. However, Fernandes saw just 17 minutes of first-team action under Koeman in 2020-21.
Fernandes told Roger Torello at Mundo Deportivo that he went to see Koeman after making his only appearance of the season as a substitute in a 4-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League. The Dutchman was pretty blunt when it came to explaining his lack of game time.
“A month or something more after that game, and not having played again, I went to his office and said: ‘Mister why don’t I have more opportunities. Did I play badly?’ And he told me: ‘No, you played well, but I can’t put you on because I don’t count on you, you don’t have the quality to play for Barça.'” he said. “And I told him that if he doesn’t put me on, he can’t see if I don’t have quality and if the managers signed me, it was because of my quality. There must be something else.”
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Fernandes Talks Barcelona Future
There is speculation that Fernandes is one of a host of players that Barcelona will look to offload in the summer transfer window. The 22-year-old said he wants to talk to the club about his future but is still waiting to hear back.
“I don’t know, I’m waiting for the club to tell me something, to tell me whether or not they are counting on me to be able to look for something,” he said. “I’m also talking to my agent to get things done right, because the season may start and they tell me, we don’t count on you, and then where do I go? I hope we sit down to talk and find out where I’m going.”
Yet Fernandes also admitted he could be tempted to look for a move away if it’s obvious he will once again struggle for game time at the Camp Nou. He addded, “For me, the best option is to stay here, but I don’t know how the club thinks. If I have to go out for minutes, I will.”
Koeman’s Future Still Uncertain
Of course, Koeman’s future at Barcelona is still far from certain after a poor end to the season. President Joan Laporta refused to guarantee he would stay on in a press conference on Friday, as reported by Diario Sport.
The president has also reportedly told Koeman he will only continue if a replacement is not found in the next 15 days. Koeman’s agency has responded to Laporta’s comments with a post on Twitter that was subsequently deleted, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.
The tweet read, “Imagine: I want to marry you, but I have doubts. Give me two weeks to find a better partner… If I can’t find the right person, we will get married anyway!”
Koeman won the Copa del Rey in his first season in charge but saw his team’s title hopes fizzle out after costly results against Levante, Granada, and Atletico Madrid. The Dutchman’s current deal runs until 2022.