The Argentine’s contract expires at the end of the season and Messi is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with non-Spanish clubs.
Messi requested to leave the Nou Camp last summer and entered into a messy saga with his boyhood club, with the Argentine’s representatives of the belief that a clause in the forward’s deal allowed him to walk away for free last summer.
That didn’t materialise, despite Messi’s intention to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Ronald Koeman was appointed Barcelona manager at the height of the tensions between Messi and the club.
The Dutchman kept out of the saga but though he insists he’s ‘hopeful’ Messi will remain at the club, Koeman admits he’s ‘not confident’ the Argentine will do so.
‘I’m hopeful, yes, about this because he’s still a great player and he’s still winning matches for us, for the team. I’m enjoying being his coach, if you look at his qualities every day in the training sessions, it’s incredible. ‘Of course, he came as a young kid to Barcelona. And I still don’t see Leo Messi in another shirt other than the Barca shirt.
However, Paris Saint-Germain’s interest is now public and former Barcelona star Neymar is desperately trying to convince Messi to move to the French capital. Koeman kept himself out of Messi’s dispute with the club’s board last summer and insists he has a good relationship with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. ‘I don’t have any problems with Leo,’ continued Koeman.
‘He is the captain of the team, I speak to Leo about tactical things and we have a really good professional relationship that I have with all the players. ‘But he is… OK, he’s the captain, so you always have more communication with him.’