Ronald Koeman reveals Messi’s behavior after Suarez departure

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Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman have revealed how motivated Lionel Messi is ahead of Barca’s season opener at home to Villarreal on Sunday.

Lionel Messi made headline some hours ago when he blasted Barcelona for forcing Suarez out after six years of service in which he scored 198 goals, the Argentinean’s latest attack on the club’s hierarchy after he tried to force a move of his own last month.

Speaking ahead of their match, Koeman says he understood why Lionel Messi was upset about the departure of his long-time strike partner and friend Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid but did not believe it would affect him on the pitch.

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He said:

“It’s normal that he is sad after his friend has left the club, they spent many years side by side. But the important thing is he’s training and playing,”

“He has been an example to everyone. He is upset but he has shown a lot of enthusiasm since he returned and he’s going to show that on the pitch.”

It seems like I’m the bad guy in all of this but I am not, I showed him respect,” added the Dutchman, who is one of Barca’s best ever players and who delivered their first European Cup with a goal in the 1992 final against Sampdoria.

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“I told him that perhaps he wouldn’t play many minutes but that if he stayed I would still count on him. It wasn’t just my decision, it was also the club’s.

“There are lots of young players who have a chance to get into the team and this is part of football. Luis and I still respect each other. He has left and I wish him best of luck.”

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