Football: Barca coach Ronald Koeman disagrees with predecessor, says Lionel Messi not hard to manage

Football: Barca coach Ronald Koeman disagrees with predecessor, says Lionel Messi not hard to manage

(REUTERS) – Former Barcelona coach Quique Setien said he found Lionel Messi a difficult player to manage but his successor Ronald Koeman enjoys a different relationship with the Argentinian forward.

The 33-year-old superstar handed Barcelona an official notice in August of his desire to terminate his contract before eventually deciding to stay in Spain for this season.

The Spaniard was sacked after Barcelona ended the 2019-20 season empty handed.

“I don’t agree with Setien but I respect his opinion and what he has experienced,” the Dutchman said ahead of Wednesday’s (Nov 4) Champions League home clash against Dynamo Kiev.

“Messi is a very good player, the best in the world. I see his ambition but he is not a player I have difficulty managing.

“Every coach is different – but for me, he is the captain and I talk to him every week about things in the dressing room and on the pitch and there is a good relationship.”

Barcelona, who followed up a 5-1 thrashing of Hungary’s Ferencvaros with a 2-0 win at Juventus, are top of Group G with six points.

But it is a different story in La Liga, where they drew 1-1 at Alaves on Saturday, dropping points for the fourth game in a row.

They are 12th in the table with eight points from six games, nine points behind leaders Sociedad, who have played two matches more.

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