• Says transfer saga, bickering behind us

Messi giving Barca his best

Head Coach of Spanish giants, FC Barcelona, Ronald Koeman, says Lionel Messi has continued to prove the ideal captain and an example to the whole squad members.

Koeman said this has been evident in the manner the Argentine has applied himself to serving the club since deciding to stay back at Camp Nou this season.

Again, the Barca Skipper gave an outstanding performance in their 3-0 win over Celta Vigo on Thursday after playing the whole second half with 10 men.

Messi’s performance helped to crush any fears that the Argentine might lack commitment after the club refused to let him leave on mutual terms.

“From day one, Leo has trained and played well and has given the maximum for the club, for his team, and for his teammates and I have had no complaints about him on any day,” Koeman said ahead of Barca’s La Liga game at home to Sevilla on Sunday.

“He proved himself once again the other day against Celta Vigo. He pulled his weight as a captain, he helped the team play the ball out from the back because it’s so important to keep the ball when you have one less player.

“There’s no debate. For me, he has always been the best player in the world. I thought that before from the outside and I think it even more now I’m working with him. He’s fully committed, he’s an example to everyone as a captain should be.”

Koeman also praised the form of Philippe Coutinho, who has thrived since returning from a loan spell at Bayern Munich, having flopped in his first two seasons with the Catalans after a club-record move from Liverpool in 2018.

“Coutinho is a very good player. He has learned a lot in England and with Bayern Munich and my job as a coach is to get the best out of each player and find their best role,” he said.

“A coach can help, but it all starts with the quality of a player and Coutinho is a great footballer.”

The Dutchman also said Barca want to sign a striker and a centre-back before the transfer window shuts, confirming their interest in Manchester City defender Eric Garcia.

According to Koeman; “We would like to sign this player. We have four centre-backs and we are short there. We know it’s difficult financially, but I hope we can get it done”. – Reuters/NAN

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