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Koeman says Messi and money talk at Barcelona ‘do not help’

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman on Friday expressed his irritation with interim president Carles Tusquets who the day before said the club had financial problems and should have sold Lionel Messi in the summer.

“The comments from outside do not interest me and those from inside the club do not help us to have the tranquility to do our job, which is to win the games,” Koeman said at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Liga game against Cadiz. 

“We cannot control the statements from outside, but those from inside the club, I believe that it is different,” he said.

Tusquets said on Thursday that “economically speaking, I would have sold Messi in the summer. Economically speaking, it would have been desirable”.

Messi made an attempt to leave Barcelona this summer before backing down, although he is free to leave next year.

Koeman said he considered Tusquets’ statements “a personal opinion and I respect any opinion, but Leo has this season with Barca and he will decide his future. Hopefully it will be here”.  

“We know Leo’s situation and he is the one who must decide his future.

“I don’t know any more about figures, it’s not my job. My job is to prepare the team, play well and win,” said Koeman. 

Former Barcelona star Neymar, sold to Paris Saint-Germain in a world record deal in 2017, said this week he would like a reunion with Messi.

“What I want most is to have fun with him on the pitch again,” Neymar told ESPN. “I want to play with him for sure. Next year we have to do it.”

Tusquets ruled out buying back the Brazilian, but Messi will be a free agent when his contract expires in June. 

PSG are one of the candidates to lure the Argentine away from Camp Nou although Manchester City are widely believed to be the main suitors.

Asked if he would like to have Messi and Neymar playing together for Barca, Koeman said: “I don’t like to talk about individual but as a club, as a coach, as a Barcelona fan, you always want to have the best players in the world.” 

Tusquets also warned that the club’s finances, stretched by the lack of spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, meant players will not be paid in January.

Koeman said “the players and I as coach have reached an agreement with the club”. 

Although Barcelona have been imperious in the Champions League, they are struggling in La Liga and travel to Cadiz in seventh place, 10 points behind leaders Real Sociedad.

“The season is still long,” said Koeman. “But we cannot afford to lose more points”.

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