I have never been unhappy with Messi, insists Koeman
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman insists he has never been unhappy with talisman Lionel Messi.
Messi faces an uncertain future, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City poised to make a run at him when his contract expires at the end of the season.
That came after a huge transfer saga in the summer ultimately led to him staying with at Camp Nou.
With Barca short of their best for much of this season, Messi had a relatively quiet run – by his exceptional standards – early in December.
In that period, he scored just one goal with zero assists in four games.
But he has been on fine form of late and scored a second consecutive double as Barca thrashed Granada 4-0 on Saturday.
Messi found the top corner with a shot from the edge of the box for his first goal and then arrowed in a low free-kick.
Team-mate Antoine Griezmann also scored twice as Barca won a fourth straight La Liga away game.
Koeman insists nothing has changed and has never worried about Messi’s commitment to the Barca cause.
“He’s given all since the first day I got here to be in form and help the team,” Koeman said. “Like everyone, we have taken time, and recently he’s been really efficient.
“We are so used to his standards that if he doesn’t score for two games, some people are unhappy or worried.
“But I never was, from the first day I got here the contact has been good.
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“I have seen him motivated every day, in games, training and in the dressing room.
“Now he’s scoring more goals doesn’t mean he is more involved, they’re moments and now they’re going in.
“Barça need Messi, because of his important creating chances and his efficiency in front of goal. We need him to achieve big things and to fight for titles.”