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'You Don't Want Him Playing Against You': Barcelona's Head Coach Hopes Messi Will Stay, Media Says

Rumors about football legend Lionel Messi's possible transfer from FC Barcelona keep floating around, but the team's new head coach Ronald Koeman now hopes to persuade the footballer to stay, the Daily Star reports.

According to the newspaper, Koeman, who assumed his current position last week after the sacking of Quique Setien, noted that Messi has "still got a contract" and is still a Barca player.

"At this point I need to speak to him because he is the captain. We need to work with him and speak with various players", Koeman said. "We need to make some decisions but in Messi’s case I hope he stays with us. I don’t know if I have to convince Messi [to stay], whether it’s that or not. He is the best player in the world and the best player in the world you want in your team, you don’t want him playing against you".

He also said that he'd love to work with Messi because the latter "wins matches", adding that if the Argentinian football ace is "at the ability and level he has always shown I’d be more than happy for him to stay".

Previous media reports suggested that FC Barcelona may make Messi's potential transfer rather problematic, thanks to his €700 million release clause.

But while many football clubs have to "reign in their spending for the time being" amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the financial restrictions related to it, if Barcelona ends up reaching a deal with Messi that would allow him to "leave for a reasonable price", then "some suitors" might come forward, the newspaper notes.

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