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Koeman talks Messi, Griezmann, Fati

Alexandre Patanian

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Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman gave an honest interview to Sport today. The Dutchman spoke about Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati, and, most importantly, Lionel Messi.

“When I arrived, I was told that Messi was unhappy. I talked to him. He explained his reasons to me and I was honest. I told him that the only thing I could affect was the football on the pitch, his position on the pitch and his importance to the team.”

“Messi has shown to me that he is a person who wants to win things, to be the best and to remain the best despite of his problems with the club.”

“Barça always was and will be a better team with Messi than without him.”

Ronald Koeman | Sport

Messi is unhappy at Barcelona and his coach’s start to the season has suffered a bit from it. However, La Pulga always gave his all for the side he captains. Under Koeman, he has been a metronome in the attack while not being at the best of his abilities. On Saturday against Real Betis, Messi showed the world who is boss by scoring twice and completely changing the course of the game. Maybe that’s the turning point of his season.

“Griezmann is working hard. He recently criticized himself. Players can go through such moments of doubt. We can help him find the best version of himself but in the end, it is always in the hands of the player.”

Ronald Koeman | Sport

Griezmann being a hard-worker is not rocket science. The Frenchman is one of the squad’s most devoted players, and he tries his best during every game. He makes runs in behind and tries a lot. His finishing is an aspect to improve on but Culés hope to see the 29-year-old’s best self quickly.

“We will miss a good player in Ansu for a while. It is a blow for the team.”

“We have to accept the circumstances of Ansu’s injury. We have to give chances to other players. Let’s hope Fati recovers soon.”

Ronald Koeman | Sport

Losing a bright prospect like Fati for four months is a big blow for any team. However, the time out for the youngster might be necessary for the long term. His surgery will prevent Fati from being more injury-prone in the future. Losing one of your top scorers until March however will always be a huge setback for any team. Maybe Koeman can innovate and replace Fati effectively.

“I have said it many times before that we are missing players in certain positions. If there are opportunities, we will try to make the signings, yes.”

“During the summer transfer window, we were pursuing a striker and a centre-back, but no progress was made.”

Ronald Koeman | Sport

Here, Koeman is surely hinting at Memphis Depay’s signing. Fati’s injury has propelled the Depay rumours back to life, but Barça aren’t the only club interested: AC Milan will fight to sign the Lyon forward as well. The Catalan giants must act quickly before losing their main man. Other than Depay, Barcelona look like they will sign a former player in Eric Garcia.

The economical situation at Camp Nou is far from ideal. If Koeman wants more players in his squad, he will have to offload others. Moreover, the 57-year-old possesses a big squad, where some players can play a handful of positions. Asking for signings looks a bit petty from the Dutchman’s side:

“Me and my staff often talk about the future, who we can sign and where we need more players, but knowing the economical position of the club, we cannot ask for much.”

Ronald Koeman | Sport

“Cruyff taught me a lot of things and details about his experience with football.”

Ronald Koeman | Sport

Being coached by late Johann Cruyff himself must have been one of Koeman’s proudest moments. The former Barça coach is a true inspiration to every Culé on the face of the Earth.

Tactically speaking, the 57-year-old has not been convincing enough. His Barça side has found it hard to defend this season and even harder to score their chances. While the finishing improved against Betis, they still conceded twice, and once to ten men:

“If we increase the speed of our game, there will be a few teams that can stop us. But if we lower the speed, our intensity will reduce and we will become a defensively weak team.”

Ronald Koeman | Sport

Most Culés must salute Koeman’s honesty, especially concerning Messi. Barça’s start to the season has coincided with a lot of off-pitch events and it has changed the course of the season. If the Dutch manager is given confidence, he could do bits.

As a Lebanese teenager who never had the chance to support their local team, I fell in love with the club that was FC Barcelona at the start of the decade. I always was passionate about writing and this is exactly what I am looking for: sharing my insights and opinions on football.

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Just in: Neymar’s entourage confirms renewal with PSG as he ‘likes the project’

Udhav Arora

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Photo via Imago

Fabrizio Romano has broken huge news as part of Neymar’s contract situation with Paris Saint-Germain, which all but officially announces that the Brazilian will be staying in France, contrary to what has been reported recently. The report suggests that that he will sign his extension soon, which is bound to include a massive UCL bonus.

Neymar’s entourage have confirmed his decision to stay with the Paris outfit in conversation with France Football, saying, “Neymar wants to stay at PSG. He sees that the club is growing. He likes the project.”

PSG have, in fact, actually enjoyed success in Europe in the recent past. They reached the Champions League final last season, crumbling only to the unstoppable Bayern Munich by a mere one goal to nil. Since then, they have fired Thomas Tuchel, and hired Mauricio Pochettino, who inspired an incredible victory against Bayern in this season’s Champions League quarters. Spearheaded by Neymar and Mbappe, the capital-side hit the defending champions for three goals, conceding two.

Despite their lead in the UCL, they do not have a stronghold on the trophy with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid still in the running. It becomes a lot more problematic when you realise their situation in Ligue 1.

PSG look far from comfortable in the league, which is a shocker to say the least. As it stands, Pochettino’s mean are in second place with 66 points, three adrift of Lille who top the table with one of the most impressive defensive records in Europe.

A season without either of the big trophies might force Neymar to have a change of mind, with the Barcelona project looking much more comprehensive under Joan Laporta. In fact, the new President might look at the Brazilian as the key that will allow Lionel Messi to stay at the club. We do the same rumours annually, so it is only fair if any of these ‘confirmations’ are turned on their head in the coming weeks.

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