Miralem Pjanic left Barcelona this summer for Besiktas after a disappointing season. The Bosnian joined the Blaugrana in a part-exchange with Juventus that saw Arthur go the other way, but managed just 19 league appearances and 619 minutes throughout 2020/21. His relationship with Ronald Koeman wasn’t good, so much so that even Lionel Messi took notice.
“Besiktas wanted me strongly in the last days of the transfer market and I couldn’t stay in Barcelona with Koeman, I would have lost another year and I didn’t want to,” Pjanic said in comments carried by Tuttosport and Football Italia. “Koeman had an attitude with me that no one understood, not even Messi. Leo, last year, told me several times; ‘But why doesn’t he let you play? Has something happened?'”
Pjanic also had a kind word for Paulo Dybala, who’s currently negotiating a new contract with Juventus. He advised him to stay. “Dybala has a heavy weight on his shoulders, but he’s already a champion,” he said. “I was lucky enough to play with [Cristiano] Ronaldo and Messi. Cristiano and Leo are two extraterrestrials, but Paulo is the one I had the most fun with. It was beautiful as it was easy to find him between the lines and if you ask him for the one-two, you know the ball will be perfect.”
Pjanic broke through at Metz, from whom he joined Lyon in 2008. He spent three seasons there before heading for Italy and Roma, spending five years in the Eternal City before securing a move to Juventus, where he’d go on to earn praise as one of the top midfielders in Europe. He has 102 Bosnian caps to his name.
Barcelona face a difficult season. They lost Antoine Griezmann as well as Messi this summer, and are now heavily reliant on their younger guns to step up to the plate and help the club compete in La Liga and the Champions League. They opened the season with a 4-2 defeat of Real Sociedad before drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao in the Basque Country and recording a narrow 2-1 win over Getafe. Bayern Munich are up next.