Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman held crunch talks with Lionel Messi before last night’s training return.
Sport says Messi was the first player to arrive at the Ciutat Espotiva Joan Gamper – a half-hour earlier than expected at 4pm. Koeman has told his players he wants them in the locker room an hour before the beginning of any training session. Monday’s kicked off at 5:30pm.
Messi chose to arrive early in order to speak with his new coach. It was the first time they’d spoken face-to-face since the Argentine had announced his decision to withdraw a transfer demand made a fortnight ago.
During the chat Koeman asked from his captain for the maximum commitment. The coach told Messi he’s confident he can get him excited about his plans and that Barça “will once again be a fearsome team respected throughout Europe”.
While it’s acknowledged that Messi’s intention was to leave this summer, now that he’s decided to stay he will do so “with all the involvement and motivation in the world”. Comments which were welcomed by Koeman.
Messi trained alone yesterday, along with Philippe Coutinho. Today, both players will undergo a double session.