Ronald Koeman told Lionel Messi that his ‘privileges in the squad are over’ in a tense meeting, which convinced the club legend that his time at Barcelona was up.
Messi was already considering his future but Koeman’s stance was the final straw and he handed in a transfer request shorly after.
A trophyless season that ended in an 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich saw Quique Setien sacked and Koeman was quickly installed as the new manager. Messi cut short his holiday to meet Koeman and told his new boss that he saw himself ‘more out of the club than in it’.
And according to Argentine outlet Diario Ole, Koeman told Messi: ‘Your privileges in the squad are over, you have to do everything for the team. ‘I’m going to be inflexible, you have to think about the team.’
Their frank discussion convinced Messi that his time was up and he faxed the club a transfer request.
He has asked to leave on a free transfer, although Barcelona are still hoping to receive a world record fee.
Manchester City are thought to be in pole position to sign him and Messi has reportedly told former manager Pep Guardiola that he’d love to team up again.
Rio Ferdinand, the former Manchester United centre-half, thinks that Chelsea could potentially be in for him. ‘Just heard Frank Lampard is now in for Messi,’ Ferdinand posted on Twitter. ‘Some window this if Lamps pulls this off!!’