Ronald Koeaman admits he is ‘not confident’ that Lionel Messi will stay at Barcelona next season as uncertainty continues to surround the future of the Argentine superstar.
Messi has entered the final months of his contract with the Spanish giants and is free to walk away from the club at the end of the season, having expressed a desire to leave last summer following turbulent period at the Camp Nou.
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were linked with a sensational move for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has spent his entire career at Barcelona to become the club’s record goalscorer and one of the greatest players of all time.
El Mundo last week leaked details regarding Messi’s astronomical current contract worth over €555m, a figure which has contributed to the crippling financial situation in Catalonia.
Barcelona are struggling financially and it appears unlikely the club can afford to keep Messi even if the player expresses a desire to stay, with Koeman admitting he is ‘not confident’ of the 33-year-old signing a new deal.
“I’m not confident about that,” Koeman told Alan Shearer in an interview with the The Athletic. “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.”
Koeman also opened up on how he dealt with Messi’s desire to leave the club during the summer, having been newly appointed as Barcelona manager before facing the dilemma of the club’s biggest name wanting out.
“I spoke to him in his house before we started the season and I made plans with him and he was really enthusiastic,” Koeman said. “I knew that he had some problems with the club and I was out of that.
“I said to Leo, ‘I’m really happy if you stay. If you don’t stay, it’s your decision and it’s what you have to handle with the club. If you stay, you will be part of the team and this will be your position to get all the best out of yourself’.
“Little by little, he accepted that situation. And look how he is playing in the last few weeks, he is really involved in the club, in the team. But, nobody knows what will happen in the future.”