Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman believes that Lionel Messi is still dedicated to the club despite the ongoing conflicts behind the scenes.

Koeman insists he is more focused on what Messi does on the pitch and for the team and not the club refusing to release while Luis Suarez was ‘forced’ out.

“It is normal that a player is sad when a friend leaves,” Koeman said.

“But the most important thing for me is how Leo has trained. He has been an example for the rest in practice and in the (preseason) matches,” Koeman said a day before his official debut as Barcelona´s coach against Villarreal.

According to the Daily Mail, Suarez was told by Koeman on the club’s decisions to release him from his contract which is believed to have come as shock to the system.

Koeman insists that he should not be treated as the person responsible for Suarez’s exit – he has since completed a move to Atletico Madrid.

Suarez was recently accused of cheating on an Italian exam after he was linked with a move to Juventus – the sole purpose of the exam was to be handed Italian citizenship to able to sign with the Serie A giants.

“I must say that I look like the bad guy … That is not true,” Koeman said. “It was a decision of the club.

“The club, before I had become its coach, took some decisions. This was not my sole decision as a coach; it was also the decision of the club. It is an effort to change the team.

“Younger players will have more opportunities.”


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