Lionel Messi, Barcelona and a Champions League exit
Manager Ronald Koeman believes Barcelona has shown football legend Lionel Messi the club has promise despite a Champions League exit.
Wednesday, Barcelona was knocked out of the Champions League with a loss to Paris Saint-Germain. Messi who notably played well wasn’t enough to secure a victory, and Barcelona exited in the last 16 stage for the first time since 2007.
“We’re eliminated, which is what counts in this sport, but we also have good sensations because we had chances to make it more complicated for PSG,” Koeman added.
“We didn’t get the reward our first half deserved. We dominated PSG and created a lot of chances. But we didn’t take them. After going into the break at 1-1, it becomes more difficult.
“The first leg result was excessive. PSG were very clinical. That’s been the big difference. We created more than them here than they did in Barcelona, but they scored more.
“But I can’t fault the team. They put in a huge effort. We also lacked a little bit of luck and their goalkeeper [Keylor Navas] was the man of the match.”
Barcelona Striker Antoine Griezmann publicly called upon his team to use this loss as motivation to perform in the Copa del Rey and La Liga.
“We’re pissed because we wanted to go through, but the performance gives us confidence,” Griezmann said. “We played really well and had four really clear chances, plus the penalty, but we just could not take them.
“We wanted to put in a great performance, to give our all, but it wasn’t to be. We still have La Liga and the Copa; that’s the objective now.”
This Champions League exit can prove to be disastrous for Barcelona if Messi decides to let his contract expire in June. If Messi decides not to renew his contract, this match could end up being the last game he wears the Barca colors.
“Leo’s seen for a while that the team is improving with the changes we’ve made,” the Barca coach said after exiting the Champions League.
(image credit – cbssports.com)
Who is most interested in signing Lionel Messi if he leaves Barcelona?
It has been reported this week by ESPN that the hire of Joan Laporta as club president, and the signs of improvement in the squad have given the football club renewed hope in Messi re-signing.
It was famously reported back in August 2020 that Messi wanted to leave Barcelona after an 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Since that time, Manchester City and PSG have been most heavily favored to sign him if he does leave.
If Lionel Messi does decide to leave Barcelona this year, it will be a cataclysmic move that will create massive offers for his services. Stay tuned!