Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said that the club star player, Lionel Messi goes through disappointing spells in front of goal like any other player.
The Argentine has only been able to convert from the penalty spot so far this season, but the Dutchman is not worried about his star player, nor the images of him walking in the 93rd minute that went viral on social media.
“He’s a great player. He still has a lot of quality and he shows it,” Koeman said during Friday’s pre-match press conference. I know he has scored penalties and that he always makes a difference… He is still a decisive player. We want to put him on the pitch where we can hurt the opposition.
“He is very important, especially in attack. He has played in different positions, as a false nine, on the wing… We want to have him up there [near the opposition’s goal]. He always causes problems for the opponent.
“I see him well, strong. And he always enjoys this sport. He is a winner, and he shows it. Like anyone else, he has more complicated moments and the ball won’t go in. It seems that, to this day, he is a very involved player.
“You can get an image of a player when he walks. I haven’t seen it and I’m not interested. My thoughts on his attitude are very good. I don’t agree with the idea of creating controversy. If with a 2-1 lead and in the 93rd minute you get an image of him walking… you cannot be more attentive to the images than to the work. I don’t agree with doing harm.”
This weekend’s match between Barcelona and Real Betis will see Koeman and Joaquin Sanchez come face to face, with the two having been enemies since their time together at Valencia in the 2007/08 season.
“I understand that this is an interesting topic for us, but I don’t get involved with that,” Koeman stated. If you want to talk more, that’s your problem. I’m in the game and I don’t get into individual things or things from the past. We know that he speaks well.”