‘His discontent was clear’: Ronald Koeman reveals he visited an unhappy Lionel Messi at his mansion to hold face-to-face talks with the Barcelona star following his transfer request in the summer
- Barcelona star Lionel Messi handed in a transfer request at the club in August
- It came just a week after Ronald Koeman had replaced Quique Setien as boss
- LaLiga claimed his £634m release clause had to be met and he ended up staying
- And Koeman has now revealed he went to his mansion to hold important talks
Ronald Koeman has revealed he went to Lionel Messi’s mansion to hold face-to-face talks with him about his future after being appointed Barcelona boss.
The Argentina star shockingly handed in a transfer request in August following the club’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, with Manchester City, PSG and Inter Milan all linked with sensational moves for the 33-year-old.
But with Barcelona and LaLiga insisting that his £634million (€700m) release clause be met, the Argentine decided against taking legal action – despite believing he should have been allowed to leave for free due to a clause in his contract – and eventually stayed for this season.
Ronald Koeman has revealed he went to Lionel Messi’s mansion for talks over his future
Former Netherlands boss Koeman replaced Quique Setien as Barcelona boss in August
Koeman replaced Quique Setien as Barcelona boss a week before Messi handed in his transfer request at the end of August, but speaking to Dutch outlet NOS, he revealed he was keen to see his star player stay at Camp Nou.
‘After signing as coach, I immediately contacted Leo,’ the Dutchman said.
‘I went to his house and talked to him about his future. His discontent was clear.
‘In the end it well and from the moment he indicated he would continue, he has done everything I expect of him.’
But his appointment came just a week before Messi handed in a transfer request at the club
Messi’s mansion is located just 12 miles away from Barcelona’s Camp Nou home in the city’s suburb of Castelldefels.
The Barcelona star has a small football pitch, a swimming pool, an indoor gym and a playground for his three children as part of his enormous property.
Koeman’s comments come after the former Netherlands boss told Messi that his close friend and former team-mate Luis Suarez’s move to Atletico Madrid was not his call.
Messi has stayed but Koeman visited his mansion where he lives with his wife and children
Messi’s enormous property includes a small football pitch and a playground for his children
The 33-year-old striker was told he was no longer needed in the summer and went on to join Diego Simeone’s side for £5m after a potential move to Juventus broke down.
Messi was particularly critical of Barcelona’s handling of Suarez’s departure but Koeman revealed he has discussed the matter with him.
‘If you have someone in the locker room with whom you and your wife and children also hang out outside football, then such a reaction makes sense,’ Koeman added.
‘I also said that to Messi: “I understand that you are disappointed and think it is a terrible shame that he is leaving, but these are choices of the club”.’
Koeman also told the Argentine star Luis Suarez’s move to Atletico Madrid was not his call
Messi was particularly critical of Barcelona’s handling of striker Suarez’s £5m departure
Suarez meanwhile has claimed Barcelona forced him out of the club because of his close relationship with Messi.
‘I think they wanted to remove me from Messi’s side. Maybe it annoyed them that I had a good relationship with Leo,’ Suarez told ESPN.
‘Perhaps they didn’t want him to be with me so much. I can’t find any reason to think that would damage the team, though.
‘We looked for each other constantly on the pitch, but for the good of the team. Maybe they wanted him to play with more team-mates.
‘That could have something to do with it. I can’t find any other reason to want to separate us because we got on well on the pitch.’
Suarez has claimed the club forced him out because of his close relationship with Messi