Former Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman wanted Lionel Messi to sign a contract extension, as he did not want to lose the best player in the world.
After 17 trophy-laden seasons, Messi bid Barcelona a tearful goodbye in the summer of 2021. Due to financial turmoil, the Blaugrana could not extend Messi’s contract, which led to his exit as a free agent. Paris Saint-Germain were the quickest to act and signed the legendary Argentine for free.
Koeman, who was in charge of Barcelona when Messi left his boyhood club, spoke to then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu to convince the Argentine to continue in Catalonia.
Ronald Koeman to Bartomeu in Barça’s documentary: “We both have to tell Leo Messi to continue. I want the best player in the world to stay.”
In the “FC Barcelona, to new era” documentary, Koeman was captured telling Bartomeu:
“We both have to tell Leo Messi to continue. I want the best player in the world to stay.”
Of course, it did not go the way the Dutchman wanted. A couple of months into the 2021-22 season, Barcelona lost their way in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, leading to Koeman’s dismissal as manager.
During his tenure with the Barcelona senior team, Messi played 778 games across competitions, scoring 672 goals and claiming 303 assists. He helped the club to ten La Liga and four UEFA Champions League titles among other honours.
Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe’s relationship as good as ever following World Cup final, insists PSG boss
Paris Saint-Germain manager Christophe Galtier has said that Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi have nothing but respect between them.
He clarified that the tense 2022 FIFA World Cup final between Argentina and France did not affect the superstars’ relationship. Messi scored twice and Mbappe netted a hat-trick as Argentina beat Les Blues 4-2 on penalties after it was 3-3 following extra time.
Messi and Mbappé have been in top form for club and country this season.
Who is your early favourite for the 2023 Ballon d’Or? 🥇
Speaking to the press ahead of PSG’s Ligue 1 clash against Strasbourg, Galtier said (via ESPN):
“There is no reason to mix everything up in the relationship between Kylian and Leo (Messi). Kylian has a very good attitude having lost the World Cup. When you lose a World Cup final, you have a reason to be very, very disappointed. He was very disappointed, but he knew how to go on and behave and had a lot of class to congratulate Leo, and that’s very good for the club and for the team.”
Mbappe reported for PSG training roughly 60 hours after losing the World Cup final and is set to feature against Strasbourg on Wednesday (December 28). Lionel Messi, meanwhile, is enjoying an extended holiday till the new year.
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