Koeman: Barcelona have proved to Messi the future is bright

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 17 May 2021 18:38 CEST 4 min read
Koeman: Barcelona have proved to Messi the future is bright

Ronald Koeman believes Barcelona’s upturn in form recently, including a much-improved outing against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, will be enough to show Lionel Messi that the future at the club remains bright.

As of 1 January, Messi became available to talk to other clubs about a free transfer this summer, with the Argentine reportedly unhappy at the Camp Nou.

The 2019/20 season was the first in 12 years in which Barca failed to win a trophy, while they remain six points off the pace in the title race in La Liga.

They were also knocked out of the Champions League in the first knockout round on Wednesday despite outplaying PSG in the second leg of their last 16 tie, with the French side progressing 5-2 on aggregate thanks to their comprehensive first-leg victory.

Things looked a lot worse earlier in the season, though, as Barcelona are currently on a 16-match unbeaten run in Spain which as catapulted them back into contention for the title, and Koeman believes this type of form, combined with the raft of talented youngsters now plying their trade at the Camp Nou, could convince Messi to stay.

“Leo’s seen for a while that the team is improving with the changes we’ve made,” the Dutchman said after the Champions League elimination.

“We have youngsters with quality and big futures coming into the team, so it’s not a question of having doubts about what this team is capable of.

“But only he can decide his future. No one can help him. He can see this side has a great future, so that’s not an argument for him to [leave].”

Who will Messi sign for if he leaves Barcelona?

Even if Barcelona want to keep Messi, which they undoubtedly do, they actually may not be able to afford to keep their Argentine superstar.

The club is currently in a wretched state financially and with debts rising to over €1.2 billion, they are currently struggling to pay Messi’s enormous wages.

One side who would be able to take on such wages is PSG, who have long been the front-runners to sign him should he opt to leave Barcelona.

FootballTransfers previously revealed that PSG had told merchandise vendors within Paris to prepare for Messi’s arrival this summer.

The other club thought to be in the running for Messi’s signature is Manchester City, who have the Pep Guardiola link that they could use to their advantage, with the pair having worked together to huge success at the Camp Nou previously.