In the summer of 2020, Messi requested to leave Barcelona on a free transfer. However, the Catalan giants stood their ground against the talisman, stating that he would only be allowed to leave if any other club was interested in paying his release clause.
With Messi out of contract in June and now able to speak to clubs outside Spain over a move this summer, Koeman has expressed his desire to see the Argentine commit his future to the only club that he has played senior football for.
Koeman told reporters after Barcelona beat Granada 4-0 in La Liga over the weekend:
"Barca need Messi, we need him to achieve great things and fight for the titles."
Even though he was withdrawn after an hour, Messi had a big influence on the game as he scored twice.
"With the score, we were able to make changes and rest very important players like Messi and De Jong. If all the players are in good condition, we can compete for all the titles. This streak of results gives us a lot of confidence."
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman says he has no problem with Riqui Puig
An exciting prospect from La Masia, Riqui Puig, was given a rare appearance for the Barcelona first team in the game against Granada, with the young midfielder making just his third appearance of the season.
Speaking of the 21-year-old, Koeman asserted:
"I have nothing against Riqui Puig. We have very young players like Konrad [de la Fuente], Matheus [Fernandes] and Junior [Firpo] who don't have many minutes, but you always think I'm talking about Riqui. I have no problem with him, we talk often. His future? He has to decide."
Antoine Griezmann also scored twice against Granada, and Koeman was left happy with the way that his team performed. The Dutchman said:
"We needed to win and get this streak going. In the second half our players were able to rest. The goals? The goals are coming. We are gaining confidence."
Barcelona are now third in La Liga, four points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid, even though they have played three games more than Los Rojiblancos.Published 11 Jan 2021, 16:15 IST