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Koeman: ‘Everyone knows Messi is the best player in the world’

Ronald Koeman, Lionel Messi
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Ronald Koeman revealed his delight in Barcelona keeping Lionel Messi for this season ahead of his first match in charge on Saturday.

Messi confirmed last week that he’ll remain at Barcelona until his contract expires at the end of the season, having been denied an exit for this summer.

He informed the club board of his wish to activate a clause that would make his contract void. However, Josep Maria Bartomeu rejected his request by arguing that the said clause expired on June 10. 

That left Messi with two options left in either hoping some club activates his €700m buyout clause or take legal action against Barcelona. Aware nobody could pay for him and reluctant to take ‘the club of my life’ to court, he chose to stay.

The Argentine has since reported to training under new manager Koeman this past week in preparation for the 2020/21 campaign.

Speaking at the Ciutat Esportiva after another training session, Koeman told Barca TV+: “It’s great because everybody knows [Messi] is the best player in the world and to have that in your team is exceptional.

“Okay, for us it’s now important to have Leo in the best conditions to play, because there is no question about his quality.

“It’s fantastic that he will be part of the season for Barcelona because everybody is really happy about that.”

Koeman will make his first appearance in the Barca dugout on Saturday for a friendly against second division side Gimnastic de Tarragona in a friendly. Another friendly against Girona awaits on Wednesday, September 16.