Sport Barcelona have to win to make Messi happy - Koeman
Aeroplane turbulence and physicality fears - Lionel Messi's first Barcelona training session 20 years on
Lionel Messi trained with Barcelona for the first time 20 years ago. It's been some ride since then for the Argentina great.Grim predictions of global chaos did not come to fruition as the human race survived Y2K and the threat of the "millennium bug".
Barcelona have to be successful again if they are to keep Lionel Messi happy, head coach Ronald Koeman has said.
In an interview with SPORT that was published on Tuesday, six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi stated his wish to draw a line under recent events and move on after he publicly aired his grievances about the ongoings at Camp Nou on more than one occasion.
The 33-year-old tried, and failed, to force a move away from the club on a free after last season finished before again taking shots at the Barca hierarchy over their handling of his friend Luis Suarez's departure for Atletico Madrid.
Bartomeu on Messi: I couldn't let the best player in the world go
Having refused to grant Lionel Messi's wish to leave Barcelona last month, president Josep Maria Bartomeu is keen to move on.Messi stunned the world last month when he informed Barca of his intention to depart the LaLiga giants, with the 33-year-old intending to trigger a clause in his contract to walk away on a free at the end of last season.
Messi, who is only under contract until the end of the 2020-21 season, has now insisted he wants to move on and Koeman has welcomed that.
"I don't know if after Leo's statements I'm going to have a quiet life, I don't think so," he told reporters ahead of Thursday's away LaLiga game against Celta Vigo.
"But it is positive that the captain shows himself in that sense, asking for unity. This has always been positive. Hopefully we are going to be calmer than lately."
Messi's criticism has centred around president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who will vacate the position in March at the latest, and he has suggested he was unhappy long before Koeman was appointed.
However, the Dutchman thinks the key to keeping Messi content is with results on the pitch.
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The 33-year-old announced intentions to leave Catalonia after almost two decades with the club, attempting to walk away from the Nou Camp for free as a result of a clause in his contract. Barcelona disputed the eligibility of the clause, insisting that Messi had not activated it in time to allow him to leave for free, and as such their prized asset could only leave the club if his £625m release clause was met.
"I do not know if I have everything in that sense in my hands," Koeman replied when asked what he could do to keep his superstar happy.
"You have to find the best team for him, where he can shine and where he gets the most out of it. And look for a formula in training.
"I have seen that he lives for football, even in training matches he does everything to win. For Leo to be happy, we have to win games."
One man who could be departing Catalonia is midfielder Rafinha.
The Brazilian has played in just eight LaLiga games for Barca across the previous three seasons, having spent time out on loan with Inter and Celta, and he has not been included in the squad for Thursday's match.
A report in England suggested Manchester City had turned down the chance to take Rafinha as part of a deal that would send Eric Garcia the other way, but Koeman indicated the 27-year-old needs to find a new club.
"For players who do not see many possibilities, it is better to find a way out," he said.
PETE JENSON: It's now 'Family. Argentina. Barcelona' for Lionel Messi
PETE JENSON: Lionel Messi's broken relationship with Barcelona football club has been patched up, but the wounds have opened again and the season hasn't even started.Messi’s reaction to Luis Suarez’s departure is no surprise. The fact that he made his discontent so public maybe is – it shows he no longer has any interest in being an ambassador of an institution that he has, at least all the time it has been under its current management, lost respect for.
"I know that Rafinha has been on loan and it is a moment when you can no longer be on loan every season. We have many midfielders, we will have to look for the best for the team. They are technical decisions."
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PETE JENSON: Antoine Griezmann's Barcelona place hanging by a thread .
PETE JENSON IN SPAIN: Griezmann played his best football at Atletico Madrid centrally behind Diego Costa and plays his best football for France off of Olivier Giroud but at Barcelona Messi is there.Thierry Henry and David Villa managed it and ended up with Champions League winners' medals. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez did not and they ended up leaving the club.