New Barcelona boss Koeman takes first training session but Messi and Rakitic absent ahead of exits

New Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has overseen his first training session at the club but Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic were among the absentees ahead of their planned exits.

Earlier on Monday, it was reported that Rakitic was undergoing a medical ahead of his return to Sevilla while Messi could not have taken part after failing to turn up for his scheduled PCR tests on Sunday.

19 players were involved in the training session under Koeman including a number of youth players such as (Oriol) Busquets, Matheus, Wague, Araujo, Akieme, Cuenca, Konrad, Ilaix Moriba, Monchu and Arnau Tenas.

The senior players present included Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Neto, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Arturo Vidal, Junior Firpo and Arturo Vidal – with players such as Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Samuel Umtiti unavailable through injury.

The latest Lionel Messi news has been dominated by his desire to walk away from the club this summer and it appears increasingly likely his exit will become a legal dispute between the player and Barcelona.

The 33-year-old has a clause in his deal allowing him to leave at the end of any season, and whilst it was thought that deadline passed in June, with Marca reporting last week that the player’s camp believe that it has been extended in line with the prolonged 2019/20 season.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the current board of the Catalan giants are said to be insistent they will not allow their superstar to leave as a free agent and they will only be prepared to meet with the player to discuss a new contract.

With a legal dispute between the player and club appearing increasingly likely, it is now reported that FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport are likely to be involved in determining the nature of any exit for the player this summer.

Tags Ivan Rakitic Lionel Messi