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Ronald Koeman refused to answer questions over Lionel Messi’s long-term future as he called for more respect for the Barcelona superstar.

Messi again hit out this week after returning from international duty with Argentina, declaring: “I’m tired of always being the problem for everything at the club.”

That came after comments made by Eric Olhats, the former agent of Antoine Griezmann, amid rumours that the two forwards don’t see eye-to-eye.

Speaking about Messi, Olhats also claimed “his attitude has always been deplorable.”

On Thursday, Pep Guardiola signed a new contract at Manchester City, with all signs at the Etihad pointing towards a summer push to sign Messi on a free transfer.

Messi, 33, is out of contract next year, having been forced to stay at the club this off-season, despite wishing to exercise a break clause in his deal.

Their relationship has been questioned
(Image: REUTERS)

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Asked about the situation with his star man on Friday, ex-Everton boss Koeman said: "We have to respect people like Leo Messi much more.

“After such a long journey, to ask him things about Antoine shows a lack of respect.

“It's an attempt from the media to create controversy.

“I have not seen any problem between Leo and Antoine.”

(Image: REUTERS)

That was followed with Koeman being asked whether he sees Messi leaving Camp Nou.

“No and I won't say anymore about this,” he said.

Asked again about Messi, the Dutchman hit back: “I won't take any more questions on this!”

Barcelona face Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday evening, with Koeman also unhappy at the fixture being a late kickoff, ahead of a trip to Ukraine to face Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday.

The Blaugrana currently sit eighth in the league table after a disappointing start to the season, which continues to be overshadowed by the saga involving the club's all-time leading goalscorer.

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