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Messi is very crucial to our plans, he has to stay – Koeman
Messi is very crucial to our plans, he has to stay – Koeman

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Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman is keen to see Lionel Messi’s new contract debate settled.

Koeman told Barca TV while speaking on various topics, including Lionel Messi, who is on holiday right now after clinching the Copa America. Messi has agreed a 50 per cent pay cut to remain at the club.

“Messi is crucial for our game, he’s the captain and an example,” said Koeman. “His efficiency last season was huge after a start to the season made complicated by his situation, but once again he showed he was the best player in the world.

“(Winning the Copa America is) hugely important because I know how much he wanted that after so many years without winning with his national team. As the best in the world he’s used to winning things and in the end he got what he was fighting for.

“He’s the main candidate for the Ballon d’Or for the great season he had and winning the Copa America. For me, he’s the top favourite to win it.”

Koeman explained that at Barca he also needed support from the other veteran players, who have important roles to play.

“The most veteran players have their place in the squad, they showed that last year and it’s important they’re with us. At a a club like Barca there has to be a balance between the oldest and the youngest. We need the oldest to provide equilibrium.”

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