Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman defends Lionel Messi’s anger “
Forced to deal with another difficult situation concerning Lionel Messi, Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman demanded more “respect” for his disgruntled star.
Koeman said he understood why Messi was visibly angry when journalists asked him about criticism leveled at him by a former agent for his teammate Antoine Griezmann when Messi arrived in Spain on Wednesday after a long flight.
“I have to stand up for Leo because if something happened to me after a 15 hour trip on a plane back to Barcelona you go out and there is a lot of press asking this type of question I would be dangerous and I would hate them too, “Koeman said Friday.
“We have to respect people like Messi more. And from what I have seen on the pitch and in training, there is no problem between (Messi and Griezmann).”
Eric Olhats, Griezmann’s agent until 2016, told France Football magazine last week that Messi marginalized Griezmann in his “regime of terror” at the club where the Argentine “controls everything”.
When reporters asked Messi for his answer, he replied wearily: “To be honest, I’m a little tired of always being the problem for everything at this club.”
This sparked another round of alarm bells at Camp Nou over Messi’s future.
Many fear that the unpleasant last episode will be another reason for Messi to implement his plan to leave the club. With his contract expiring at the end of this season, Messi will be free to negotiate with other clubs in January.
There is widespread speculation that he might be tempted to track down former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Koeman has said that while he does not think it is his duty to convince Messi to stay, he is confident the 33-year-old forward will extend his 20-year stay at Barcelona.
“I hope he stays at Barcelona,” Koeman said. “I think it’s amazing what he has done for this club, but he is the main person to make a decision about his future.”
Barcelona will visit Atltico Madrid, the league’s only undefeated team, on Saturday.
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