Koeman not worried about PSG and Lyon talking about Messi

Star striker is free to negotiate with rivals since last month as contract expires in June

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said he no longer cares about Paris St Germain discussing their desire to sign Lionel Messi but expressed his surprise at Olympique Lyonnais coach Rudi Garcia getting involved in the matter.

Last week, Koeman was irked by PSG’s Angel di Maria talking of his wish to play with Messi next season, accusing the French side of trying to crank up the pressure on the Catalans ahead of their upcoming Champions League clash.

Lyon boss Garcia then got involved by saying it was rich of Koeman to criticise PSG for talking about the prospect of signing Messi after he had spoken openly of Barca’s pursuit of Lyon forward Memphis Depay.

“I don’t know why PSG are doing this [(talking about Messi] but if they want to talk about Leo, they can,” Koeman told a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final first leg at Sevilla.


‘Not important’

“But now the Lyon coach is getting involved, it seems like he wants to raise his profile in the media. It’s not important to me. What we have to do is prepare for our match against Sevilla, then Alaves and then PSG and we’ll see what happens.”

Messi has been free to negotiate with rival clubs since last month as his contract with Barca, where he has stayed since he was 13 years old, expires in June.

Barca have been dealt three fresh injury setbacks for the Sevilla game, with right-back Sergino Dest, striker Martin Braithwaite and midfielder Miralem Pjanic all out in addition to centre-back Ronald Araujo, who hurt his ankle in Sunday’s 3-2 win at Real Betis.

Both sides are in impeccable form, each winning their last six games in all competitions.

“They are a very physical side, well organised, and with individuals of real quality, that’s why they’re so high up in the table and in the Copa semi-finals,” Koeman said of Sevilla, who are fourth in La Liga, one point behind second-placed Barca.

“They have one of the most complete squads around and we’ll have to be very good on the ball to cope with their pressing. But if we play at our potential we can harm them.”