Koeman dismisses ‘disrespectful’ Messi overtures by PSG star Di Maria as Barca icon set to make decision at end of season
Six-time Ballon d'Or-winning ace Messi prompted a transfer tug of war last August when he declared his intention to leave Barcelona after admitting that he had grow dissatisfied with the direction of the club - in part due to a humbling 8-2 home defeat inflicted by German champions Bayern Munich in a knockout Champions League tie in mid-August.Also on rt.com Net returns: Football icon Lionel Messi’s contract is not worth a fraction of the drama his departure from Barcelona would cause
The Barcelona skipper cited language in his contract which allows him a window to leave the club on a free transfer at the end of any season - however Barcelona argued that the clause expired earlier in the summer, while Messi said that the delayed season, which ran through August, meant that the window in which he could leave was extended.
In the end, and after reports linking him with a move to Manchester City where he would reunite with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola, Messi recanted when it appeared that his staring contest with the Barcelona hierarchy would lead him to a court room before it would the Etihad Stadium in the sky blue half of Manchester.
But with those rumors set to be stoked once again as we move towards the end of the 2020-21 season, reports from Spain are indicating that Messi is set to keep Barcelona, as well as his list of suitors, waiting anxiously before he makes a call on his future.
Per Goal, Messi is thought to be "tired" at the constant speculation regarding his future despite currently being eligible to speak to clubs outside of Spain regarding a move given that his contract with Barcelona expires this summer. The report also indicates that the player will make an announcement after the completion of the La Liga campaign.
One person hoping Messi ends up in Paris, however, is his international teammate Angel Di Maria. The PSG winger gave his blessing to a potential transfer to media recently, saying of Messi's possible arrival: "Yes, yes, I hope so. There are many possibilities. We have to be calm and things will develop."
However, Di Maria's endorsement of the move didn't sit well with Barcelona's Dutch head coach, Ronald Koeman.
"It's wrong to say such things, especially because it heats up our Champions League match even more," said Koeman, whose team will face PSG in the first of two Champions League knockout ties on February 16.
"I think it's not fair and it's disrespectful to talk so much about one player who is still playing for Barcelona. I think it is disrespectful to talk so much about Leo while he is playing for Barcelona, especially before a Champions League match against them."Also on rt.com ‘Give him a pay rise’: Messi hits incredible free-kick to reach new Barcelona milestone amid outcry over €555mn contract
One suspects that, if Koeman is so put-off by the frenzied speculation about Messi's future right now in early February, he'd probably be best served not picking up any copies of Marca between now and the end of the summer, as the longer Messi's future hangs in the balance, the more that his potential destinations will position themselves to land one of the beautiful game's finest-ever talents.