BARCELONA

Koeman "concerned" about Messi contract situation

Lionel Messi has officially been a free agent since his Barcelona contract expired on 30 June, which is a concerning situation for coach Ronald Koeman.

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Koeman "concerned" about Messi contract situation
ALBERT GEA REUTERS

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said that while Lionel Messi’s still-to-be-resolved contract situation is worrying, he is confident that the club will get their long-time talisman to put pen to paper on a new deal at Camp Nou.

Speaking ahead of a golf tournament featuring Barcelona figures and other personalities, which has been organised by Koeman himself, the Dutch coach revealed details of his conversations with Barça president Joan Laporta, who has allayed his concerns regarding the club captain.

Messi, who is currently on duty at the Copa América with Argentina, has officially been a free agent since his Barcelona contract expired on 30 June. The 34-year-old captain is set to play in the Copa América final against Brazil this Saturday, after which he will have to make a final decision on his immediate future.

Lionel Messi in action for Argentina in the semi-final against Colombia.

While the Argentine forward has been linked with Manchester City and PSG, with the latter having reportedly made him a recent offer, Laporta remains confident that Barcelona can convince him to stay. However, Koeman said that concerns will not subside until the situation is officially resolved.

Koeman on Messi situation

“When something is not resolved, you have to be concerned. I have full confidence in the president to fix this issue. It is very important for the club and also for LaLiga that the best player in the world stays," Koeman said this Friday.

"We all have to make an effort so that he stays. Each one is responsible for their own task. Laporta told me yesterday to be calm, that they are working on it and they are confident on reaching an agreement with Leo that will see him continue for a few more years."

Koeman on Griezmann and Pedri

Meanwhile, responding briefly to questions about Messi’s strike partner, Antoine Griezmann, Koeman assured that the club “will count on” the Frenchman next season amid speculation about his future.

The Dutch coach also expressed his opposition to young star Pedri going to the Olympics after the 18-year-old midfielder featured heavily in Spain’s Euro 2020 campaign.

“You have to protect Pedri and the players. For me the Olympics are above all an athletics competition,” said Koeman, who will look forward to the return of his international players in the coming weeks to begin pre-season preparations. As things stand, he is confident that Messi will be among the returning party.