September 28, 2021

‘Messi leaving is the best thing for Koeman’s empire’ – Mido says Barcelona boss will want Argentine out

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A man who worked under the Dutch tactician at Ajax believes the absence of big characters will help a new regime to gain control at Camp Nou

Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona is “the best thing that could happen to Ronald Koeman”, says Mido, with the new coach at Camp Nou considered to need big characters to depart in order to build his “empire”.

The new man in charge of the Liga giants has been talking up his desire to see a talismanic presence remain in Catalunya.

Messi has, however, informed Barca of his desire to move on, with the Argentine seeking a new challenge after becoming disillusioned with life on and off the field at the Liga giants.

No move has been sanctioned as yet, amid links to the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, with further talks due to be held between disgruntled player and under-fire board.

Mido believes Koeman will be open to the idea of a six-time Ballon d’Or winner leaving his ranks, as the absence of Messi and his considerable influence will allow Barca’s current coaching regime to stamp their authority on an out-of-sorts squad.

The former Egypt international, who played under Koeman during his time at Ajax, told Elwatan Sport: “Koeman is one of the best coaches I have trained with and he has a very strong character, but he is going to face many difficulties if Messi stays.

“The best thing that could happen to Koeman is the potential departure of Messi. Koeman won’t be able to build his empire with Messi existing in the dressing room.

“Koeman was my coach for two-and-a-half years and no matter how much time goes by, he is still unable to handle players with strong characters and he doesn’t want a player who has an opinion.”

While questioning Koeman’s methods when it comes to handling big-name players, Mido does concede that the Dutchman boasts Barcelona “DNA” and could prove to be a shrewd appointment.

Barca do, however, have a number of issues to address.

Messi is pushing for the exits after seeing the Blaugrana surrender the Liga crown to arch-rivals Real Madrid in 2019-20, before then crashing out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage after suffering a humbling 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich.