What Lionel Messi Promised Ronald Koeman In First Meeting Since Agreeing To Stay
Ronald Koeman and Lionel Messi's first meeting since the six time Ballon d'Or winner decided to stay at Barcelona this season was very positive for everyone involved.
Messi was set to leave the club this summer after becoming disillusioned with life at the Nou Camp but after being told he couldn't leave for free he relented and has decided to stay this season.
After missing training last week, the forward returned for his first pre-season session on Monday and met with the new manager before joining in.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Koeman told the 33-year-old he was happy for him to be back but warned he only wanted players committed to the club.
The newspaper reports that Messi told the manager he was committed and promised him that he'd return to his best form for the team this season.
Messi did train alone on Monday as he was working on his fitness, having missed the first few sessions of pre season whilst still trying to make his move happen.
Along with Philippe Coutinho, who was also working on fitness, the Argentina superstar was due to join the rest of his teammates for a double training session on Tuesday, ahead of the new La Liga season starting this weekend.
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Speaking last week about his decision to stay, which was forced on him by the 700 million euro release clause in his contract being upheld, Messi said, "I told the club, including the president, that I wanted to go. I've been telling him that all year," he told Goal. "I believed it was time to step aside.
"I believed that the club needed more young players, new players and I thought my time in Barcelona was over.
"I felt very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.
"....It did not come because of the Champions League result against Bayern, no - I had been thinking about the decision for a long time.
"I told the president and, well, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not keep his word."
Despite not having his goal scoring season for Barca in the previous campaign, in which the Catalan side ended with no silverware, the club's all time top scorer still managed to break a La Liga record, becoming the first player to score 20 goals and get 20 assists in one season.
It's no wonder Koeman is keen to keep him.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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