Messi calls for unity
Lionel Messi wants to put his dispute with Barcelona behind him and called for the club and its fans to unite.
In only his second interview since unsuccessfully pushing for a transfer in the off-season, Messi said Barcelona will be stronger if everyone works together to help the club succeed.
“After so many disagreements, I would like to put an end to it all,” he told Sport.
“We must unite as Barcelona fans and believe that the best is yet to come.”
Messi said that the only way for the club to reach its goals is to keep “united and rowing in the same direction”.
Messi told Barcelona he wanted to leave after the team’s 2-8 humiliating loss to Bayern Munich in the quarter finals of the Champions League in August, but he ended up staying to avoid a legal battle with the “club of my life”.
Messi has continued to criticise club officials since deciding to stay.
The Argentine star said he wanted to send a “message” to club members and fans, saying that “if at any time I upset some of them for something I did or said, they shouldn’t doubt that. It was always thinking about the best for the club”.
Coach Ronald Koeman admitted that he was pleased to hear what Messi said.
“I don’t know if after Messi’s words I will have a quiet life as coach of Barcelona, I don’t think so, there is always something, but of course it is very positive that the captain has come out like that asking us to be united,” Koeman said in a media conference on Wednesday.
“This was very positive and hopefully everything will be a bit quieter than it has been recently.”
Koeman was asked if he thinks Messi is happy at Barcelona. “I don’t know if I have that sort of thing in my hands. As a coach, we have to look to make a better team for him, where he can shine, and look for a position in the team where he can deliver the best performances that he has always delivered for this club.
“I have seen in these four weeks that he lives for football, even in training matches he does everything to win and I think that winning matches is the remedy for Leo to be happy in this team.”