Ronald Koeman was in charge of Barcelona when Lionel Messi left for Paris Saint-Germain and supports a move to bring the Argentine back.
Ronald Koeman has welcomed the idea of Lionel Messi making a return to Barcelona and believes the Argentina star is still the best player in the world.
The former Barcelona boss was in charge of Messi’s final season with the Catalan club before making an emotional exit in a free transfer to French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Barca sacked the Dutchman in October 2021 following a poor run of form and the 60-year-old is now returning to manage the Dutch national team following Louis van Gaal’s retirement following the World Cup in Qatar.
Koeman himself won’t be returning to Barcelona any time soon, but he remains hopeful Messi will make a romantic return to the club, with speculation that such a move is in the works.
“Messi is the best player in the world and when he left it was difficult,” he said at the Koeman Cup, a charity golf and paddle event.
“The team that has him will be stronger. His departure from Barca was a very bad day.”
“If I see Leo in another shirt, it hurts me. It’s his home, where he needs to be. It wasn’t good that the management didn’t give him the option to stay, but I’m in favor of Messi being a Barca player.” ”
Since his sacking, Koeman’s successor Xavi has led Barcelona on an inspiring league run this season, 13 points clear at the top of LaLiga with just 10 games remaining.
“They have improved with Xavi and they will definitely win the league,” Koeman said of the head coach.
“It’s a much improved team. The coach is good or bad depending on the players. For me, we have to celebrate this league in a big way because we’re talking about the previous few seasons where Barca didn’t win anything.”
“Barca are there for their quality and for their defence. It must be noted that they have only conceded nine goals. It is deserved and if the others have not been at this level, it is their problem.”