18:21 GMT26 September 2020
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Argentine footballer Lionel Messi shocked his fans by announcing in August that he intends to leave Barcelona, where he has played since 2003. But his plans apparently fell through due to legal and timing issues.

    Barcelona’s new head coach Ronald Koeman's plans for Lionel Messi have been made clear, Mundo Deportivo reports, following the footballer’s unsuccessful transfer attempt, as the team is expected to hold its first pre-season friendly march on Saturday.

    According to the report, Koeman plans to employ Messi on the field as a “false right winger”, which will allow him to move “freely” throughout the “attacking front”.

    “Ronald wants Leo to focus on attacking and not go down to look for the ball in the middle, but wait for his teammates to take it”, the analysis suggests. Messi is also expected to be liberated from most of his defensive duties.

    Koeman was appointed Barca’s head coach in August, after former manager Quique Setién was removed from his position following a number of disappointing losses and the team’s failure to reach the Champions League final. Messi was reportedly critical of Koeman’s plans for the club’s development and decided to leave the team after a meeting with the Dutchman.

    The record six Ballon d’Or winner announced his plans to quit Barca on 25 August, but got embroiled in a legal battle with the club’s bosses and decided to stay with the team, while promising to give his “best for Barcelona”.

    "There is a new coach and new ideas. That's good, but then we have to see how the team responds and whether or not it will allow us to compete at the top level”, the Argentinian footballer said last week, noting that he did not know “what will happen next”. His current contract with the club is set to expire in summer 2021.  

    football, Catalonia, Spain, Argentina, Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona
    Community standardsDiscussion