Koeman Makes Big Messi 'Preference' Claim About Teammates

Pedri, Lionel Messi & Antoine Griezmann
Pedri, Lionel Messi & Antoine Griezmann

According to Ronald Koeman, during his time as manager of Barcelona, Lionel Messi favoured a specific player over the rest.

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The Dutchman was in charge of the Blaugrana between August 2020 and October 2021, but while his stint at the Camp Nou was largely underwhelming, his tenure did see the emergence of a number of young talents, including Pedri.

The diminutive Spaniard arrived in Catalonia from Las Palmas on a full-term basis in 2020, and almost immediately sought to establish himself as one of the key players in the Barca dressing room.

Koeman has now revealed that Messi took a liking to the young Spanish midfielder's ability as it was the teenager whom he dovetailed a lot with in comparison to his other teammates.

"Messi was very humble. He immediately noticed Pedri’s qualities and was willing to combine with him during games, unlike with some other players," the 59-year-old said on Andy van der Meijde's YouTube channel.

The young star has been a star for Barca since the departure of Messi, winning the 2021 Golden Boy award as well as being one of the main protagonist in Barca's push for the LaLiga title this season.

The five-time European champions currently lead Real Madrid by eight points in the league, and Koeman has lauded the club he once played for and managed, but seemingly could not help having a subtle dig at Xavi Hernandez’s circumstances.

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"Barca are doing great. I watched Barcelona vs Real Madrid, they played amazing football," he added.

"They were so good. But, yeah, if you get up to 10-12 new players, things get a little easier.

"It depends on the quality of the squad. During my time, that was different."

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