Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman hails Lionel Messi as 'the best'

‘He is the best’: Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman hails Lionel Messi after putting transfer saga to bed following the superstar’s stunning U-turn on his future as the Dutchman prepares for new LaLiga season

  • Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has heaped praise on superstar Lionel Messi 
  • The Argentinian performed a stunning U-turn after announcing a desire to leave 
  • Koeman called Messi ‘the best’ as he prepares for the upcoming LaLiga season

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has lavished praise on talisman Lionel Messi after the Argentinian’s dramatic U-turn on his future, calling him ‘the best’.

Messi appeared destined for the exit door at the Nou Camp after informing his boyhood club of his desire to leave via burofax earlier this summer, with Manchester City the leading contenders to seal an incredible move for the superstar.

But the 33-year-old shocked the football world by confirming he would stay at the club for another season, reluctant to take them to court over a dispute regarding a £630m release clause in his contract.

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has heaped praise on Lionel Messi ahead of the new season 

He called the Argentine ‘the best’ after his dramatic decision to stay at Barcelona this term

Koeman will now be able to count on Messi for the upcoming season as he looks to lead the club into a new era following a turbulent season that saw two sackings and a shocking 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. 

Speaking ahead of a friendly against Gimnastic on Saturday, Koeman had plenty of positives for Messi and stressed he remained hugely crucial to the success of the Catalan outfit. 

‘He’s the best,’ he said. ‘Messi when fit is such an important player for us and he’s shown that over many years. I hope he can repeat it again this season.’ 

Barcelona’s first two games of the new LaLiga campaign are postponed as the team are given more rest following their involvement in the top European competition, with Villarreal providing their initial test on September 27.

He insisted the superstar was still a crucial member of the side and hope for more of his magic

The Dutchman was appointed last month and has a tough task to get the club back on track

Koeman was confirmed as the new man in the dugout on a two-year contract last month after the sacking of Quique Setien, and he is set to oversee a revamp of the playing squad as the club look to move on from recent disappointments. 

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic has become the first big name departure as he left for former club Sevilla, while other high profile players such as Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique have both been linked with exits. 

Barca are looking to offload up to 12 players to free up transfer funds and keep Messi content this season, with Martin Braithwaite and Samuel Umtiti also in contention to make way. Recently they have been linked with a move for Lyon winger Memphis Depay as they look to add more firepower to the squad. 

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