Koeman set to coach Barca, Messi staying – Bartomeu

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Ronald Koeman is set to become the new Barcelona coach and will count on Lionel Messi as “the pillar” of his new project, club president Josep Bartomeu said on Tuesday.

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Bartomeu said in an interview with Barca TV that negotiations with the Dutchman are advanced but that a deal had yet to be signed.

“If nothing changes, Koeman will be Barcelona’s new coach,” he said.

The announcement comes four days after the team’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Bartomeu also addressed the future of star forward Messi, who cut a frustrated figure in the loss to the Germans.

“I have spoken with Koeman and the pillar of our project is Messi. He is under contract until 2021. I speak a lot with Leo and more regularly with his dad. He is the No. 1 in the world. I have no doubt that the new project Koeman has in mind counts with Messi in everything, everything,” Bartomeu said.

As a player, Koeman helped Barcelona clinch its first European title by scoring an extra-time winner in a final nearly two decades ago, and now the former defender is set to return to try to lift the club from its current crisis.

He will be replacing Quique Setien, who was fired after Friday’s collapse against Bayern.

The 57-year-old Koeman had been in charge of the Dutch national team since 2018 and had a contract that would end after the 2022 World Cup.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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