Barca boss Koeman salutes game-changing Messi

By Sports Desk February 07, 2021

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman praised the game-changing impact of Lionel Messi, who came off the bench to inspire a 3-2 LaLiga victory over Real Betis.

Messi was a shining light for Barcelona after being named among the substitutes, scoring an equaliser before unlocking Betis' defence with a sublime pass on Sunday.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner scored just 136 seconds following his introduction – his fastest goal as a substitute for Barca in LaLiga.

Trincao struck the 87th-minute winner for Barca, who are seven points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid, though the latter have two games in hand.

Koeman saluted superstar captain Messi post-match, telling reporters: "I always talk to the players and I express to them my ideas.

"I spoke to Lionel Messi yesterday about whether he was happy with having a rest and that if we needed him during the game, I was going to bring him on.

"That's what ended up happening. We were losing 1-0 and just a few minutes after coming on to the pitch he completely changed the game.

"He scored the equaliser and then added a lot to our play in the second half."

Messi – tipped to leave Barca amid strong links to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City – has scored six goals in his past seven LaLiga games playing from the bench.

Koeman's Barcelona have won their past nine games away from home in all competitions – the third best streak ever for the Spanish giants after 13 in 2008-09 under Pep Guardiola and 10 in 2014-15 under Luis Enrique. Barcelona claimed LaLiga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League in those seasons.

Related items

  • World number one Swiatek: I feel like a 'kid from kindergarten' around Serena Williams World number one Swiatek: I feel like a 'kid from kindergarten' around Serena Williams
  • Rumour Has It: Man Utd considering moves for Vardy and Aubameyang Rumour Has It: Man Utd considering moves for Vardy and Aubameyang

    Manchester United have come in for huge criticism following their poor start to the season.

    United have failed to land major off-season transfer targets and are eager to add reinforcements.

    The start of Erik ten Hag's tenure as manager has been hugely disappointing, with back-to-back Premier League defeats.

     

    TOP STORY – MAN UTD TURN TO VARDY TO SOLVE STRIKER ISSUES

    Manchester United are considering a bid for Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy to solve their striker conundrum, claims The Athletic.

    The Red Devils have endured a frustrating transfer window and have only netted once in their opening two league games.

    Vardy is among a number of targets United are keen on, having also been linked with Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to The Sun.

     

    ROUND-UP

    – TalkSPORT claims Manchester United are getting close to a €50million (£42m) deal for Atletico Madrid's Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha. The 23-year-old joined Atletico from Hertha Berlin last year on a five-year deal.

    Chelsea are closing in on a deal for Inter's Cesare Casadei, according to Calciomercato. Inter have set their asking price at €15m (£12.5m) plus €5m in bonuses, which the Blues are edging closer to meet. The deal may aid Romelu Lukaku sealing a permanent switch to the Nerazzurri.

    – Talks are ongoing between Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus on agreeing a move for Leandro Paredes, reports Fabrizio Romano. Personal terms have been agreed between the Argentinian and the Bianconeri on a long-term deal.

    Wolves will sign Portuguese midfielder Matheus Nunes for a club-record fee of €45m (£38m) plus €5m in add-ons from Sporting CP, according to Record. Liverpool, West Ham and Manchester City had been tracking Nunes.

    – Diario Sport claims Barcelona may be willing to let Samuel Umtiti exit as a free agent amid interest from various unnamed clubs. Umtiti, who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2026, has struggled with injuries during his time at the Blaugrana.

  • Allegri 'not worried' about Di Maria injury, coy on Paredes transfer Allegri 'not worried' about Di Maria injury, coy on Paredes transfer

    Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri has insisted he is "not worried" about Angel Di Maria after the Argentine limped off against Sassuolo.

    Di Maria opened the scoring on his debut and provided an assist for Dusan Vlahovic in the 3-0 triumph, where the striker also won and converted a penalty.

    After a slow start, it was largely plain sailing for Juventus after Di Maria's debut goal, but concern was raised after the former Paris Saint-Germain ace limped off in the second half with a suspected adductor injury.

    Juventus also saw Denis Zakaria pick up an injury during the match, but Allegri insisted that he was not concerned about the prospective setbacks.

    "I am not worried. We'll see what the tests say tomorrow," he told DAZN.

    "Unfortunately, these things happen in football. He had this adductor issue a week ago too, perhaps I should've taken him off when we were 3-0 up, but he was enjoying himself out there. 

    "Zakaria just had a cramp, nothing more. The important thing is that we won a game that we really wanted to win, which was by no means simple."

    Juventus' may make further additions before the close of the transfer window on September 1, with Di Maria's compatriot and former PSG teammate Leandro Paredes heavily touted to make a move to Turin.

    The midfielder was shown on social media to be following the game but Allegri played down the significance.

    "They are friends, both from Argentina, so that's natural. I don't know if they can play together, I have to work with the players at my disposal," he added.

    "The club has done well, we lost important players and brought in good replacements."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.