Lionel Messi 'Determined' to Leave Barcelona This Summer - Ronald Koeman Lined Up as Next Manager

Robbie Copeland
Aug 16, 2020, 7:42 PM GMT+1
Could Lionel Messi have played his last game for Barcelona?
Could Lionel Messi have played his last game for Barcelona? / Pool/Getty Images

It has been reported in South America that Lionel Messi could have played his final game for Barcelona, with sensational claims that the captain is 'determined' to leave this summer.

Reports in Spain, meanwhile, suggest that Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman is being lined up as the man to replace Quique Setien, who looks certain to leave following Champions League humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich.

It's not a good time to be Barcelona at present. The club is spiralling rapidly, and even Messi - on whom the club have relied so heavily to keep them competitive at the top - was unable to save a disastrous 2019/20 season.

The Catalan giants yielded their La Liga title to Real Madrid, and finished their campaign trophy-less after Bayern smashed eight goals past them on Friday evening - two of which came from Barcelona-owned Philippe Coutinho.

The result has left the club scarred, so much so that Brazilian outlet Esporte Interativo, who were out in front with the news of Neymar's move to PSG, say that even Messi is prepared to give up. He's more than prepared, in fact - they say he is 'determined' to secure an exit this summer, a year ahead of his contract expiring in 2021.

Where he could go is anyone's guess. Inter have been linked in the past, while a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City was also briefly discussed, but neither rumour looked particularly convincing. A return to Argentina with Newell's Old Boys? MLS-bound? We can speculate, but there really is nothing to indicate which direction he will head in if he does get his apparent wish to leave.

In less massive but still pretty groundbreaking Barcelona news, Marca have come out with a report noting that former Barca midfielder Koeman is the man most likely to replace Setien.

Ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was in the frame, but his past with Catalan side Espanyol, during which he said he would 'rather work on a farm in Argentina than manage Barcelona' is said to have put directors off.