Koeman’s predecessor said that Messi was “difficult to manage,” in a recent radio interview.
“Every manager is different, but I do not agree with what he has said about Leo,” Koeman said. “But I respect his opinion and I respect his lived experience.
“For me, Leo is the best in the world. Every day I see his ambition, his winning character, it speaks for itself. He is not a player who has difficulties, he is the captain and every week I speak with him about things on the pitch, the dressing room, to have a good relationship.”
Setién was appointed midway through last season after Ernesto Valverde was sacked. Rumor had it that Barcelona first asked Xavi to step in, and then asked Koeman himself. Both passed on the offer, and then Barcelona looked to Setién, who was then a free agent. Setién tried to implement an approach that wanted to recall Pep Guardiola’s ultra-possession based system, in contrast to Valverde’s system, which was comparatively less about possession. However, the season did not end well for Setién, as his team failed to win any trophies and were embarrassed in the UEFA Champions League.