‘We have to make some changes’: New boss Ronald Koeman demands more intensity and insists he would ‘love to work with Messi’ after returning ‘home’ to take charge of crisis club Barcelona
New Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said he would be speaking to Lionel Messi about his future but also warned he only wanted to work with players who wanted to stay at the club.
‘I don’t know if I have to convince Messi,’ he told reporters at the Camp Nou. ‘He is the best player in the world and you want the best player in the world in your team, not on the other side.
‘For my part, I would love to work with Messi. He wins football matches and I would be really happy if he decides to stay.’
Ronald Koeman (right) receives a shirt as he is named the new boss of beleaguered Barcelona
The departing Holland coach puts pen to paper ahead of his first press conference with Barca
Koeman is keen to keep ‘best player in the world’ Lionel Messi and will speak to his fellow stars
Under-pressure president Josep Bartomeu (left) hopes he can point Barca in the right direction
But the 57-year-old former Barcelona defender added later in his first press conference: ‘I only want to work with players who want to be here and if they are not happy, let them say it.’
On the subject of Messi, he added: ‘He has a contract. He has one year left. He is a Barcelona player.’
Koeman was asked if he was going to name the players he wanted to depart, just as Pep Guardiola did in 2008 when he took over and revealed that he did not want Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto’o in his team in his first season.
The former Holland boss said: ‘I am not going to talk individually about any players. I know there are certain players of a certain age that there might be doubts about.
Koeman speaks on stage after seeing a montage of some of his highlights as a Barclona player
Bartomeu has handed Koeman the reins after sacking short-serving Quique Setien on Tuesday
‘Out of respect to the players, I am not going to talk about individual players here.’
Pressed on whether this was a clearing out of older players, he added: ‘A 33-year-old player is not necessarily finished. It’s all about whether they have the hunger.
‘There are 20-year-olds who don’t have the hunger. We have to have the best for the team. I only want to work with players who will give the maximum for Barcelona.’
Presenting Koeman, Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu made reference to his past as one of Johan Cruyff’s most important players and the club played a video of Koeman’s goal at Wembley that won Barcelona their first European Cup.
Bartomeu faces an election in March which could mean Koeman answers to another president
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