Koeman says Messi could have ultimate phrase on health


MADRID: Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman says he will allow Lionel Messi to make a fitness decision ahead of the Spanish Super Cup final against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday January 17th.

Messi missed out on Wednesday’s penalty shoot-out win over Real Sociedad after suffering an injury in their win over Granada last weekend.

“He trained alone yesterday and today he will join the group. We will see if he is available or not,” Koeman told a press conference.

“The player himself always has the last word (on his fitness). We’ll wait and see how his body reacts tomorrow morning, but we hope that he’s available. It would of course be much better if he could be there.” us because it gives you a better chance of winning.

“We’re talking about the world’s best player and when he’s not there we miss something. With him, the team is stronger thanks to his creativity and clinical advantage that we can sometimes miss.”

Barca’s meeting with Bilbao comes less than a fortnight after beating the Basque team 3-2 in La Liga thanks to two Messi attempts, despite Koeman saying it doesn’t count before the final.

“Every game is different and they looked back at the game and found things.

“We can improve things too. We’ll see tomorrow, but we have to be ready and better than last time.”

The Catalans will have to forego long-term absences from Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Philippe Coutinho.