Football

Lionel Messi’s happiness is out of my hands: Ronald Koeman

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said Lionel Messi's happiness is not in his hands but admits he was pleased to hear the Argentinian saying yesterday that he wants to end his disputes with the club.

Koeman also confirmed that Ajax Amsterdam right-back Sergino Dest is "almost certain" to join Barca, with the 19-year-old expected to complete his medical today before completing the move.

The signing of Dest would continue the shake-up at Barcelona, who have allowed Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo all to leave as they try to reduce the wage bill and refresh their squad.

Messi was forced to stay and expressed his disappointment at the way Suarez was pushed out to Atletico Madrid, but in an interview with Diario Sport published yesterday, the 33-year-old said he wanted to "put an end" to the "disagreements".

"I don't know if after Messi's words I will have a quiet life as coach of Barcelona, I don't think so, there is always something. But of course, it is very positive that the captain has come out like that asking us to be united," Koeman said.

"This was very positive and hopefully everything will be a bit quieter."

When asked if he thought Messi was happy at Barcelona, Koeman said: "I don't know if I have that sort of thing in my hands. As a coach, we have to look to make a better team for him, where he can shine, and look for a position in the team where he can deliver the best performances. I think that winning matches is the remedy for Leo to be happy in this team."

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard's injury issues show no sign of abating after he pulled out of Real Madrid's clash with Real Valladolid this morning (Singapore time) with "a muscle injury in his right leg". - AFP

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