The six-time Ballon D’or winner shocked the world of football last week as he and the club announced that they will be parting ways after 21 years.
Despite Messi’s exit, Koeman insists that he is looking forward to the upcoming campaign and feels the squad have the quality to challenge in LaLiga without the Argentine’s presence.
Ronald Koeman says he is looking forward to the new campaign despite the exit of Messi
Lionel Messi was in tears as he left the club after 21 years as his emotional exit was confirmed
‘Despite the farewell to Leo Messi, we are very excited about this new season,’ he said after his side’s 3-0 pre-season victory over Juventus, as reported by AS.
‘With the squad we have, the signings we have made and also young people have come up, which is always the future of this great club.
‘We are convinced that we will give you many joys this season. With a lot of help, a lot of sacrifice and a very good job we will achieve the maximum. We know what it is to be from Barca and what this club represents.’
The Argentine’s departure looks set to leave a big hole in Barcelona’s attack but Koeman has suggested that Antoine Griezmann can replace Messi.
‘It is important to have the best, but we don’t change our ideas or the way we play either. Griezmann has played in his position and he has done well.’
Koeman hinted Griezmann can fill the hole left by Messi and vowed not to change their style
The Frenchman has endured a difficult time since his £107m move to the Nou Camp from Atletico Madrid in 2019 – struggling to link up with Messi and receiving criticism from the fans, although he managed a total of 20 goals from 51 games in all competitions last season.
The forward was met by a group of angry supporters on his way into training last week as they yelled: ‘It’s your fault Messi is gone’.
Should Griezmann stay at the club this summer it would mark a huge turnaround after reports Koeman was willing to sell him as they battle to cut down their crippling wage bill.
He was linked with a return to former club Atletico Madrid, while Spanish media also mentioned Manchester City and Chelsea as possible destinations.