It looked like Ronald Koeman, FC Barcelona’s new coach, was not going to see it again, but Lionel Messi reported to the Catalan club‘s training complex on Monday afternoon. The 33-year-old star player started preparing for the new season there.
Koeman trained at Joan Gamper Ciutat Esportiva in Sant Joan Despi with a thinned out selection, as many players flew out due to international obligations. It is unclear whether Messi trained with the group or finished an individual program.
It remains to be seen whether the conflict between the Argentine and FC Barcelona will be resolved, but a quick departure of Messi seems to have been averted. And that’s where it seemed to go when the six-time world soccer player of the year, who since his debut in the main force in 2003 captured ten national titles and won the Champions League four times, said he wanted to leave on 25 August.
Messi thus expressed his dissatisfaction with the course of events at FC Barcelona, which closed last season for the first time in twelve years without a prize. Especially club chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu and his policy had to pay the price. A conversation with Koeman would not have changed the attacker’s mind.
The contractually agreed ransom of 700 million euros succeeded. A go to court might have offered solace, but Messi did not want to do that to the club, which brought him so much. And so he announced last Friday that he would stay with Barça and serve out his commitment, which expires in 2021.
Because the sorry aunt hadn’t had the mandatory coronation test yet, he was still missing on Saturday’s group training. So today the Argentine was still there.
Barcelona will play its first practice match against Gimnastic Tarragona on Saturday. The number two of last season – behind rival Real Madrid – starts the league in Spain on September 27 with the home game against Villarreal.