Koeman phrase which angered Lionel Messi and prompted Barcelona transfer demand

Ronald Koeman inherited a nightmare first task as Barcelona manager – convincing Lionel Messi to stay at the club.

At this point, it’s fair to say things couldn’t have gone much worse for the Dutchman.

The Argentinian superstar has communicated his desire to leave the club immediately after his talks with Koeman.

And it is claimed that Messi was angered by one particular phrase from the Dutchman which prompted him to decide enough is enough.

"The privileges in this squad are over, you have to do everything for the team," Koeman reportedly declared, via Deportes Cuatro.

“I'm going to be inflexible; you must only be thinking about the team.”

Messi is said to have taken exception to Koeman’s authoritarianism having not had that relationship with his coaches at Barcelona.

And that tipped him over the edge and led to his transfer request having already been angered by recent events including the treatment of team-mate and close friend Luis Suarez.

Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has weighed in on the saga and insisted Messi cannot leave for free despite claims he believes a clause in his contract which expired on June 1 was extended due to the lengthened season.

"[Messi] cannot leave," Gaspart told Radio MARCA.

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"He will have to leave in 2021.I have seen the contract and it is very clear. The clause ended in June and there is no going back.

"I prefer him to leave next year for zero than to go now for less than 700m euros. The club is in charge here, not the player.

"The club paid the players, and this is not a matter of money, there is a signed contract and that's it.

"I love Messi very much, but I love Barcelona more," he continued.

"Let the clause be paid. They did it to me one night treacherously with [Luis] Figo and I did the same with Rivaldo, because I loved Barcelona. And here it's the same.

"There is a clause of 700m euros and the contracts are signed to fulfil them. I understand there is pressure from others for him to leave, but if I were the president of Barcelona then I wouldn't negotiate a euro.

"If Messi leaves for less than what his clause is worth it will be more humiliating than the 8-2 [defeat].

"And Messi should not forget that the fans love Barcelona more than the player. And if Messi leaves next year, well, bad luck, he goes aged 34.”

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