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Ronald Koeman on Lionel Messi: “He is the best”

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The boss is happy the Argentine did not leave

FBL-ESP-LIGA-NED-BARCELONA Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Ronald Koeman has shown a positive attitude as he welcomes Lionel Messi back to Barcelona training.

“He’s the best,” Koeman said. “A fit Messi is a hugely important player and he has shown that for many years. I hope that he can repeat that this season.”

Messi had pushed for an exit from Barcelona, which the club did not grant. He is staying, for at least one more year.

“It’s tricky. It’s a short preseason and we only get four weeks before the opening game against Villarreal. It’s also more of an individual preseason, as some players who have had more of a rest and others who have played games. We have to try to ensure that everybody is in top form before the opening game,” Koeman added.

His first game in charge will be a friendly, against Gimnàstic de Tarragona.

“Now we have some friendlies and training sessions in which to get into good shape and face a tough La Liga season.”

“The team are working very well, with intensity, and I am very happy with the work that the team has been doing during these two weeks,” the Dutchman said.

“They’ve been very positive. We’re two weeks in and the players are working very well. There is a good level of intensity in training, furst of all with the fitness side in the opening weeks, and now with tactics.”

It is expected that Koeman will field two different XIs in the friendly, with each team playing 45 minutes.

“The players have shown a lot of spirit, interest and intensity, and that is the most important thing, because for me you have to train how you play. It’s very important and I am very happy with the work that the team have done over these two weeks.”