The newly signed Barcelona manager, Ronald Koeman, has refuted reports saying that there is animosity between himself and Barcelona star Lionel Messi, weeks after the Argentina captain chose to halt his plans to move away from the club.
Messi dropped a bombshell when he informed the club he wanted to leave Barcelona at the end of last season, after the club lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in a devastating Champions League semifinal.
Messi, 33, after long discussions between his dad and the club board revealed that he would remain at the club than become embroiled in a messy legal battle with the club he has been at since 13.
Messi has now returned to Barcelona ahead of the new season with his future in doubt, having entered the final season of his contract.
Koeman, brought in to replace Quique Setien after the defeat to Bayern, has said that any conflict that existed was between the player and club, and that he and Messi have spoken multiple times since he decided to stay at Camp Nou.
“That has passed me reasonably well,” Koeman told Fox Sports.
“That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club. I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual.”
Messi has said Barcelona’s poor recruiting in recent seasons was one of the reasons he wanted to leave but Koeman says the club appear likely to begin the new season with the squad they currently have.
“We are now working towards the new season and I assume that we are going to do it with this group with which we are the preparation,” Koeman added.