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Koeman: I Was Honest With Messi

Dutch manager Ronald Koeman has addressed Lionel Messi's issues with FC Barcelona, and revealed the three things he told the Argentine he could change following his appointment.

Koeman: Why I Benched Messi

The Argentine went close to ending his stay at the Catalan giants in August, but ultimately did not get his wish to leave the club by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Koeman admits he was helpless to rescue the six-time Ballon d'Or winner from his troubles with the board, but did tell the 33-year-old there were a few things he could change, such as the way the team plays, Messi's role and his influence on games.

"Messi has shown me to be a person who wants to win things and continue to be the best, even though he has had his problems with the club," he told Sport.

"Barcelona have been, are and will be a better team with Messi than without. When I arrived, they told me that Messi was unhappy.

"We spoke at his house and he explained his reasons to me. I was honest. I told him that the only thing (I can change) is the system, his position on the field, his importance in the team.

"But the problems that he had had with the club, I couldn't change. From the first day, I have said the same thing. He is the best and is committed to the club.

"He has had his issues, his problems this summer, but since he returned to training, he has been very good.

"He has had bad luck in some games and he has not been able to offer the usual performance, but I am sure that at the end of the season he will have scored the usual goals."

Messi has scored six goals and assisted a further four strikes in 10 matches across all competitions for the Blaugrana so far this season.

Click through the gallery below to see the latest transfer news surrounding Barcelona amid the club's reported financial crisis. 

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