Ronald Koeman has insisted that Paris Saint-Germain have not destabilised Barcelona by fuelling the transfer rumours surrounding Lionel Messi.
Messi’s future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent months, with PSG being mooted as the Argentine’s most likely destination if he decides to leave Barca in the summer.
Several players and staff members have publicly welcomed the prospect of the 33-year-old making his way to Parc des Princes, including Mauricio Pochettino and Neymar, but Koeman claims the ongoing transfer talk hasn’t served as a distraction for his side.
“PSG HAVE NOT DESTABILISED US, I DON’T KNOW IF IT WAS THEIR INTENTION. BUT MY THEME IS TO PREPARE THE PLAYERS. MESSI IS FROM BARCA AND I AM HOPEFUL THAT HE IS STILL HERE [BEYOND THE SUMMER],” HE TOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE ON MONDAY.
Jordi Alba also spoke to the media about Messi ahead of Barca’s Champions League round of 16 first leg tie against the French champions, admitting that he would love to see the six-time Ballon d’Or winner pledge his long-term future to the club.
“IF I WERE CLEAR ABOUT HIS FUTURE, I WOULDN’T SAY IT EITHER. HE IS ONE HUNDRED PER CENT COMMITTED TO BARCELONA. HOPEFULLY, WE WIN A TITLE. HE WILL DECIDE AT THE END OF THE SEASON,” SAID THE BLAUGRANA FULL-BACK.
“WHAT OTHER CLUBS OR PLAYERS SAY, WE DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO HIM. THERE ARE MANY OPINIONS, THERE IS MUCH TALK, BUT THE LAST WORD IS HIS. THE DECISION WILL BE WELL THOUGHT OUT AND CONSIDERED.
“IT WILL BE THE ONE THAT HE BELIEVES IS BEST. WITH LEO WE ARE MUCH BETTER AND STRONGER. I HOPE HE WILL STAY FOR MANY YEARS, BUT IT IS HIS DECISION AND WE WILL HAVE TO RESPECT IT.”
By Usman O.