Lionel Messi urged to STAY at Barcelona by Ronald Koeman despite another Champions League flop as manager insists: ‘The team is going in the right direction… he can’t have doubts about the future of this team’
- Ronald Koeman insisted Lionel Messi could not have ‘doubts’ over team’s future
- Speculation surrounding star’s future ramped up after Champions League exit
- Boss did concede only Messi can decide whether he stays or departs in summer
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman insisted Lionel Messi could not have ‘doubts’ over the direction the club was heading in as speculation surrounding the star’s future ramped up following their Champions League exit.
The Catalan giants crashed out of the elite European competition at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night following a 5-2 aggregate defeat.
Koeman has urged the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to stay but did concede only Messi can decide whether he remains or departs this summer.
Ronald Koeman insisted Lionel Messi could not have ‘doubts’ over direction club was heading
‘Messi must decide his own future, nobody can help him with this,’ Koeman said, as reported by Mundo Deportivo, following the 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.
‘He’s seen for a long time now that the team is going in the right direction. And with the changes we’ve made and the youngsters who are only going to improve, he can’t have doubts about the future of this team.
‘Everyone can be proud, including our president. We’ve shown our face and from the first to the last second we saw a team that wanted to win this tie.’
Speculation surrounding the star’s future ramped up following their Champions League exit
The Argentine superstar scored a sensational goal from long range in Paris but also saw his penalty saved by Keylor Navas as Barcelona were comfortably swept aside with the damage done in the first leg at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona faced an uphill task after losing 4-1 at home to the Ligue 1 giants last month and their exit at the last-16 stage has intensified talk of Messi’s future.
The 33-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season with both Manchester City and PSG interested.
Sportsmail revealed this week that Messi will make his decision at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
The 33-year-old scored a sensational goal from long range in Paris but they were well beaten
It is understood that Joan Laporta’s re-election as club president has not altered Messi’s plans.
Messi voted in the election having been critical of the previous regime under Josep Maria Bartomeu, who he accused of going back on his word last summer when the Barcelona talisman announced his desire to leave.
Though Messi would be on a free transfer, his wages are considerable and that would be an obstacle for any club particularly in the current financial climate.
Barcelona are crippled by debt and Messi is their biggest earner on wages reported to be around £77million a year.
PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas saved a Messi penalty as Barcelona lost 5-2 on aggregate
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