Ronald Koeman watched Lionel Messi score his 650th goal for Barcelona and urged the club to fire anyone who was found responsible for leaking to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo his contract details.
“The angry Barcelona coach said: “What came out was supposed to injure him. Messi deserves reverence.
‘He’s done so much for football in Spain. People are out here to damage Barcelona and Messi. If it turns out to be somebody inside, then that’s bad and the club shouldn’t have any future.’
The report that appeared on Sunday in El Mundo indicated that Messi’s 550 million euros to gain from his new deal with Barcelona had threatened the club to ‘ruin’.
Koeman said that the 33-year-old Argentine had not wound up, but he looked extra inspired against Athletic Bilbao, the team that defeated Barcelona in the final of the Spanish Super Cup, a game that sent Messi home.
He had the first chance of a game that Unai Simon did well to save, but before the break, the Athletic keeper could do nothing about Messi’s free-kick.
Iker Muniain lay behind the wall and Yeray scrambled back to the goal line with Athletic, but nothing could avoid the free-kick sailing into the top corner. It was a free-kick, his 49th career goal.
‘I don’t understand how to relate Messi to the ruin of Barcelona,’ Koeman added.
He’s shown his consistency for years now, making this club great and helping them win major trophies.
‘For some time now, he has been the strongest in the world and he is always decisive.’
Barcelona needed a little more than Messi to pick up the game three points, then above Real Madrid, and second in the table 10 points behind Atletico Madrid champions.
Four minutes after the restart, Jordi Alba put past his only goalkeeper, but Oscar Minugueza overlapped down the right and crossed for Antoine Griezmann to get the winner. It was his 11th goal in 23 games against the Athletic Club.