Koeman: Messi? He and the team have responded in the way I like

Ronald Koeman once again had to answer questions about Lionel Messi's contract, although he admitted that he is glad about the way in which the Argentine and his Barcelona teammates have responded to the matter.

Barcelona beat Athletic Club 2-1 last weekend, with Messi scoring a wonderful freekick, to move up to second in the table, level on points with Real Madrid.

"It's kind of absurd that you've been talking about this issue for three days," Koeman said during Tuesday's pre-match press conference.

"The team and Leo have responded in the way I like, leaving what comes out in the press aside and focusing on the match."

There were no last-minute signings by Barcelona before the close of the transfer window on Monday night, with Jean-Clair Todibo being the only player to depart as he joined Nice on loan with an option to buy.

"I already said that Todibo was not in my plans and we were looking for another destination for him because he has to play," Koeman stated.

"We don't have any signings, but looking at the big ones there are not many who have spent because, with COVID, clubs have a lot of economic problems."

Gerard Pique and Ansu Fati remain out injured, but Koeman has revealed when he hopes they will be back in time for.

"The most important thing is that they recover well from their injuries, and setting a date is not good," he explained.

"Hopefully they can be [back in time to play] against PSG, but I'm not sure because they are on the road to recovery. We will see. They are very important for the team."

Antoine Griezmann has found form since the turn of the year, and his coach is understandably happy for him.

"The whole season he's been good and working," Koeman said.

"The first thing a player has to do is work and help the team. In his particular case, his efficiency also counts.

"There have been moments when he had to score and he hasn't scored, but these are phases that any football player goes through; we have all experienced them.

"Now he is doing very well and it is important for me because we want to get the maximum out of each player."

Source: Marca / Cristina Navarro

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