With Lionel Messi nonetheless round, Ronald Koeman appears to be like able to make some courageous selections to rejuvenate Barcelona.
It may even imply allotting with two of Messi’s closest confidants.
The new supervisor left veterans Luis Suárez and Arturo Vidal off his squad which beat third-tier membership Gimnàstic de Tarragona 3-1 in a friendly on Saturday, Barcelona’s first match since Koeman took over final month.
Instead, the 25-man record included a number of reserve crew gamers.
While Vidal has been a useful midfielder, Suárez has been an untouchable part of the crew since his arrival in 2014. The Uruguay striker has been the very best assault associate of Messi’s, and his 198 objectives make him the membership’s third all-time main scorer. Suárez and his household are neighbours and shut associates of Messi, his spouse, and kids.
Koeman has been tasked by the membership to hold out “profound changes” which can be clearly wanted after Barcelona ended final season humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich within the Champions League.
Suárez and Vidal are 33 years previous and neither are in Koeman’s plans, in response to Spanish media.
Koeman has reportedly instructed each gamers their tenures at Barcelona are over. Local media speculate Suárez could possibly be heading to Juventus and Vidal to Inter Milan.
The message behind leaving them off the squad this weekend appears to be like clear: If they do find yourself staying, they must compete with youthful gamers to be starters once more.
Shortly earlier than the match Vidal posted a photograph on Twitter of himself with sun shades on and shirtless with the message, “Mode: Relax.”
Barcelona’s historic defeat to Bayern was the most recent collapse the facet has suffered on the finish of current seasons, so Koeman is placing emphasis on health and work ethic to alter the crew’s tradition of complacence and growing reliance on Messi to win video games.
Talking on Friday concerning the preseason, Koeman mentioned, “My players are showing effort, focus and intensity, and that is important because for me you train like you play.”
After the sport Koeman was additionally cautious to laud Messi, who returned to follow this week after having misplaced his energy battle with the membership over his need to depart. After the membership refused to let him go for free, Messi publicly pledged he would end the ultimate yr of his contract with the identical dedication to successful.
“(Messi) has shown the same attitude from the very first day. He has trained well, and even trained on his free day,” Koeman mentioned after the match. “He knows perfectly well he must get in better shape like all his teammates. His talent speaks for itself.”
Messi, who has stored the captaincy regardless of his dispute with the membership, performed the primary 45 minutes of the friendly.
Koeman was with out Ansu Fati after the 17-year-old ahead acquired a tough knock to his proper thigh throughout follow on Friday.
Fati enhanced his breakout season for Barcelona by changing into the youngest scorer within the historical past of Spain’s nationwide crew final weekend in a 4-0 win over Ukraine within the Nations League.
The membership friendly was the primary probability for forwards Francisco Trincão and Pedro González to play since becoming a member of the crew.
Ousmane Dembele, who returned to the pitch after his newest damage layoff, scored the opener. Antoine Griezmann added a penalty, as did Philippe Coutinho, who was again at Camp Nou after spending final season on mortgage at Bayern.
Fight in opposition to Coronavirus: Full protection