BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Friendly conversation with Killian Mbabane. Quick hug with Mauricio Pochettino. Kiss agate kiss from Angel Di Maria.
Signs were there at the Park Prince Stadium for Barcelona paranoid fans who feared Lionel Messi would follow in Neymar’s footsteps after Paris Saint-Germain finished the season.
However, Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is convinced that he did his best to persuade Messi to continue his career at the Spanish club, despite another disappointing Champions League game.
“Leon has to decide his future, no one can help him do that, but I think he has seen for some time that this team is on the right track and has a future. “I do not think he can use it as a reason not to stay,” Kuman said at PSG on Wednesday. After a 1: 1 draw, Barcelona was eliminated from the competition.
Kuman, who promised to rejuvenate the team last year instead of titles, Barcelona is playing well again. Last week in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, the team fought back to beat Sevilla, narrowing the gap with Spanish league leaders Atletico by six points.
“Barcelona” is undefeated in 16 games of the championship – 13 wins և 3 draws, until Monday it hosts “Huesca”, which is in the last place. Atletico visit Getafe on Saturday.
For Messi, who scored a fantastic goal in Paris and was awarded a penalty kick by Kaylor Navas, the elimination will be another painful outcome of the tournament, which he last won for the fourth time in 2015.
Since then, “Barcelona” has suffered several losses in the knockout stages. Last season’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich forced Messi to say he wanted to leave the club he had been with for two decades. Since then, he has been silent on his plans, except that he will decide when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Disappointed with his previous relationship with Messi, San Laporta was re-elected by the club last weekend. Laporta claimed that he was the best person who wanted to talk to Messi so that he could stay at the Camp Nou.
But until Messi really signs a new deal, all eyes will be on the potential contenders. And PSG is a leading candidate as it is one of the few clubs that can afford a player who is currently worth € 138 million ($ 167 million) per season.
PS het coach Pochettino said that his hug after Wednesday’s game with Messi was “just to please” a player he was coaching while he was at Espanyol. Di Maria, who shook Messi’s head after the last whistle, is a member of the Argentine national team.
Although Mbabane’s future is in doubt as his contract expires, Neymar could lure Messi. Neymar, whose contract also expires after the season, has repeatedly stated that he would like to transform the partnership he shared with Messi at Barcelona.
But Kuman hopes he can offer a strong squad, thanks to the bold moves that need to transform a team that once won, only to slowly lose its competitiveness in Europe. Last season, Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, 18-year-old Pedri Gonzalez, Anso Fatin and Elias Moriba were among the promising talents.
The main thing for Kuman, which was lacking for Barcelona in the game against PSG, was the final side given by Mbape, who scored four goals in a 5-2 victory.
“I think everyone can be proud of the image we show,” Kuman said. “Once again, this team has shown that it has a great future.”
The question now is whether pride and promise are enough to keep Messi, now 33, in place.
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