KEY POINTS

  • Koeman says there are no problems between him and Messi
  • Messi recently featured in Barca's pre-season games
  • He has entered final year of his current deal with Barca

FC Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has insisted there is no conflict between him and Lionel Messi, who was recently not allowed to leave the club for free.

A frustrated Messi informed Barcelona he wanted to part ways at the end of the 2019-20 season, which saw the Catalans go trophy-less for the first time since 2008. Barcelona ended the campaign with an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Any club wanting to sign Messi had to trigger his release clause of $826 million. It was understood that Pep Guardiola-managed Manchester City had even offered Messi a five-year deal. While Messi believed he could leave Barcelona for free, the club maintained that the clause that would have allowed it had expired in June. As a result, Messi decided to stay in Barcelona to avoid an upsetting legal battle against the club he has been associated with for almost two decades.

Messi has now returned to training and even featured in Barcelona’s pre-season games, but his future still remains in doubt as he has entered the final year of his current contract with Barcelona.

It was previously reported that Messi finalized his decision to leave Barcelona after he met with the club’s new head coach Koeman. The meeting was a disaster, where Koeman told Messi that his "privileges are over" and that he has to "do everything for the team."

Ahead of La Liga 2020-21, Koeman has cleared the air saying there are no problems between him and his skipper and the duo has spoken multiple times since the Argentinian playmaker announced his decision to stay with the Nou Camp side.

"That has passed me reasonably well. That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club. I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual,” Koeman said in a recent conversation with Fox Sports Netherlands.

Lionel Messi still appears set on leaving Barcelona Lionel Messi still appears set on leaving Barcelona Photo: AFP / LLUIS GENE

In the same interview, Koeman was quizzed about Barcelona’s current transfer situation, especially their latest links with Lyon forward Memphis Depay. The former Netherlands head coach has confirmed that Barcelona cannot make any new signings until it sells some players.

"We're working towards the new season and I think we will go into it with the same group of players that we have now for pre-season," Koeman added in the same interview.