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.
"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.