• Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said he talked to Lionel Messi right after his appointment in August
  • Koeman revealed that Messi is doing everything he expects from him as a player and captain
  • The manager said Suarez could have stayed at Barcelona if he wanted to

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is opening up about Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and his appointment as club manager back in August.

In a recent exclusive interview with NOS, Koeman revealed that one of the first things he did after being hired as Barcelona coach was to talk to Messi. According to the Dutchman, he made things clear with the Barca captain, who is now cooperating well with him.

"After I signed here as a coach, I immediately contacted Leo [Messi]," Koeman shared. "I went to his house and talked to him about his future. He was clear. In the end it all worked out, and from the moment he said 'I'm going for it', he has done everything I expect from him."

Messi had been vocal about his desire to leave the club in the offseason as well as his disapproval of some of the decisions the management had been making.

"I think we shouldn't underestimate everything that's going on in Messi's life," Koeman said.

Apart from Messi, Barca’s veteran striker, Suarez, also had a tumultuous summer with the club. While Messi ended up staying with Barcelona, at least until his contract expires next year, Suarez signed with Atletico Madrid in the final days of the transfer window.

Messi had taken issue with the way his friend had been booted from Barcelona, even accusing the club of kicking out the striker on social media.

Addressing Messi's frustrations over Suarez's exit, Koeman said he understood where the Barcelona superstar was coming from.

"If you have someone in the locker room with whom you and your wife and children also hang out outside football, then such a reaction makes sense," the coach said. "I also said that to Messi: I understand that you are disappointed and think it is a terrible shame that he is leaving, but these are choices of the club."

Koeman also clarified that while he did tell Suarez he wasn’t part of his plans for Barca, he did not totally close the door on the Uruguayan star staying with the club.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez
Lionel Messi celebrates with Luis Suarez during Barcelona's match with APOEL. Reuters