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The Blaugrana coach feels his superstar forward is happy after his latest record efforts
Ronald Koeman believes Lionel Messi is happy at Barcelona after another record performance from the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Messi scored the third goal in La Liga’s 3-0 win over Real Valladolid on Tuesday: the superstar captain’s 644 goal for Barça, who beat Pelé for the all-time record number of goals for a single club .
First-half goals from Clement Lenglet and Martin Braithwaite gave Barça a cushion at the José Zorrilla Stadium before Messi surpassed the record set by Pelé for 18 years at Brazilian Santos.
Although Messi expressed his desire to leave Barça de la Liga after a 19-year off-season, Koeman believes his talisman is now happy.
“I’ve said it a lot,” said Barça coach Koeman. “I see Leo happy here.
“Your creativity is very important to us.
“You can see when there are good players next to him.”
Oh! Oh! Oh! pic.twitter.com/nP1eB8a14m
FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 22, 2020
Koeman switched to a three-man defense line for the trip to Valladolid after Barca’s defense was exposed in a 2-2 draw against Valencia on Saturday.
Barça kept the hosts in moderation until goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a double stop in the 71st minute when the Catalans had a comfortable three-goal lead.
“We changed to improve the defense and the wings,” added Koeman of the Netherlands.
“We have seen a very serious performance with good concentration and good opportunities created.”
Pedri provided the delivery for Lenglet’s first goal and claimed his second assist with a pass back to Messi, as Koeman reserved praise for both the 18-year-old and his midfield teammate Miralem Pjanic.
“Pedri is a very good player when he plays in the middle,” Koeman said. “Pjanic had to wait for his chance, but he played a great game. He was good on the ball, but also on defense.”
Fifth-ranked Barça is eight points behind La Liga leaders Atlético de Madrid, and Koeman’s team will host Eibar on December 29.
The Catalans will kick off the New Year on the road against Huesca on January 3, before staying away from home to face Athletic Club (January 6) and Granada (January 9).