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Sports News

Messi not difficult to manage, says Barca coach Koeman

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Deportivo Alaves v FC Barcelona - Estadio Mendizorroza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain - October 31, 2020 Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action REUTERS/Vincent West

(Reuters) - Former Barcelona coach Quique Setien said he found Lionel Messi a difficult player to manage but his successor Ronald Koeman enjoys a different relationship with the Argentinian forward.

Messi, 33, handed Barcelona an official notice in August of his desire to terminate his contract before eventually deciding to stay in Spain for this season.

Setien was sacked after Barcelona ended the 2019-20 season empty handed.

“I don’t agree with Setien but I respect his opinion and what he has experienced,” Koeman said ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Dynamo Kyiv.

“Messi is a very good player, the best in the world. I see his ambition but he is not a player I have difficulty managing.

“Every coach is different -- but for me, he is the captain and I talk to him every week about things in the dressing room and on the pitch and there is a good relationship.”

Barcelona, who followed up a 5-1 thrashing of Hungary’s Ferencvaros with a 2-0 win at Juventus, are top of Group G with six points.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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