RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT
VIDEO SHOWS: BARCELONA TRAINING SESSION
SHOWS: BARCELONA, SPAIN (SEPTEMBER 5, 2020) (BARCA TV – ACCESS ALL)
1. BARCELONA PLAYERS WARMING UP INCLUDING LUIS SUAREZ (SECOND FROM RIGHT) AND PEDRI (SECOND FROM LEFT)
2. BARCELONA COACH, RONALD KOEMAN WATCHING ON
3. TRAINING SESSION IN PROGRESS
4. SUAREZ TRAINING
5. PLAYERS TRAINING
6. PEDRI THROWING BALL TO TEAM MATE
7. SUAREZ AND TEAM MATE DOING STRETCHES EXERCISE
8. PLAYERS WARMING UP
9. DEFENDER, GERARD PIQUE (RIGHT) THROWING BALL TO MIDFIELDER, CARLES ALENA
10. MIDFIELDER, RIQUI PUIG SMILING WHILE THROWING BALL
11. VARIOUS OF GOALKEEPER, INAKI TRAINING
12. VARIOUS OF PLAYERS DOING A RONDO TRAINING DRILL
13. VARIOUS OF PHILIPPE COUTINHO DOING INDIVIDUAL TRAINING
STORY: Barcelona trained on Saturday (September 5) but Lionel Messi was still absent despite announcing he would be staying at the Nou Camp for the 2020/21 season.
The club captain will have to undergo a COVID-19 test as part of the La Liga healthcare protocols before he can resume training. Messi is expected to do have that test in the next 24 hours.
Barcelona fans will be celebrating the fact they will get to watch their beloved Messi for another season but the result of the high-profile arm wrestle between the world’s most iconic soccer player and one of its biggest clubs appears to have ended with neither camp able to claim victory.
On the face of it, the 33-year-old six-time world player of the year appears to have backed down in the raging contract row ignited last week when he stated he wanted to leave for free.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, backed by La Liga, insisted Messi’s contract, due to expire next summer, contained a release clause, meaning that for him to move to a new club a 700 million euros fee would need to be paid.
In a statement on Friday (September 4), Messi said he was staying on reluctantly, rather than face a bitter court battle with the club he joined as a teenager and with whom he has amassed more than 30 major trophies and netted more than 600 goals.
This was no ringing endorsement, though.
Messi is rich beyond imagination; the fact that he will pocket a 70 million euros loyalty bonus, and get to leave on a free transfer next summer, would not have been a factor in his decision.
The Argentine has clearly become disenchanted with life at Barcelona. On the pitch Barcelona’s 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League was a humiliation; off it, his relationship with Bartomeu has hit the rocks.
Messi’s love for Barca, and his adoring fans, means he is unlikely to go through the motions next season but new manager Ronald Koeman, a Bartomeu pick, now has an unhappy player on his hands as he tries to rebuild a squad that has gone stale.
Bartomeu may claim victory over Messi’s U-turn but the club could now see its greatest asset leave for nothing next summer instead of the mind-boggling sum that would have come after an unprecedented bidding war for his signature.
Koeman will take charge of his first match as Barcelona coach when they play Club Gimnastic next Saturday (September 12).
(Production: Tim Hart)