UNCOVERED: How Koeman first won over Messi and Barcelona board

Logo: Tribal Football

Tribal Football

Article image: UNCOVERED: How Koeman first won over Messi and Barcelona board

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is being praised for his man-management since taking charge this summer.

Sport says the Dutchman's straight talking and intense training sessions has impressed the senior players' group.

Koeman laid a good foundation and immediately spoke with the senior players, with Lionel Messi the first. The Dutchman shared the ideas of his project with Messi. A reconstruction based on harder work, a better physical condition in the squad and a different tactical plan.

Messi came away with a good impression of Koeman, but emphasised at the time that he still wanted to leave because of the board and president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

In the days that followed, Messi spoke to some of his teammates. He told them that he believed they were in good hands with Koeman. He still saw no place for himself in the project, but understood that Koeman's input would help the current squad.

Koeman then spoke with some other players: Sergio Busquets, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann. From the first practice session he made it clear to the whole group that they would have a 'hard training regime'.

Koeman also spoke one-on-one with players, explaining in clear terms what the intention was. He doesn't want to become best friends with the players. He just wants to get his message across clearly, without intermediaries, so that no misunderstandings would arise.

His way of communicating commands respect in the dressing room - and also inside the boardroom of Barcelona.