Ronald Koeman hails perfect Lionel Messi in 2020-21

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has hailed Lionel Messi’s professionalism since his arrival despite his high-profile transfer request this summer.

Messi told club president Josep Bartomeu he wanted to leave the Camp Nou as per an agreed exit clause in his contract in Catalonia.

However the club blocked his departure claiming the clause was invalid and Messi opted to remain and complete the final year of his contract.

Koeman has insisted the controversy surrounding his desire to leave has not impacted Messi’s performances on and off the pitch in recent months.

“He does everything I expect from a player and a captain,” he told an interview with NOS, reported via Diario AS.

“After arriving as coach here I went to visit Leo in his house to discuss his future.

“He was clear about his discontent. In the end the situation turned out well and from the moment he indicated he would stay he has been excellent.”

Messi has completed 90 minutes in all three of Barcelona’s La Liga games so far in 2020-21, including a goal from the penalty spot in the opening day 4-0 win against Villarreal.

He is expected to return to Spain in the coming days after joining up with the Argentina squad for their CONCAF Nations League games against Ecuador and Bolivia.

 

Tags Lionel Messi Ronald Koeman