Koeman recalls Messi to cup squad and says players can ignore Barca money woes

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Lionel Messi and Ronald Koeman (Getty Images)
Lionel Messi and Ronald Koeman (Getty Images)

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said on Tuesday that he did not think his players were distracted by the club's financial problems and called for "focus" when they visit Rayo Vallecano in the cup.

Koeman has recalled Lionel Messi to the squad for Wednesday's round-of-16 trip to second-division Rayo after a two-match ban for a red card in the Spanish Super Cup final loss.

Koeman told a press conference that the Argentine was "looking forward to it" but refused to say if Messi would start.

"Leo is very keen to play and to win things, he is used to winning trophies, he is a winning player and wants to be in every game, tomorrow when we get there I will announce the team," said Koeman, adding that the ban has allowed Messi to rest.

"He's in good spirits, fresh, not bothered, to win things we need a fit Messi."

Barca released their financial report for the 2019/2020 season on Monday, which revealed debts of 1.173 billion euros ($1.426 billion) including 730.6 million euros is short term, much of it outstanding instalments on player transfers.

Local media have reported that Barcelona have postponed to February the payment of player wages originally scheduled for December.

"I don't know if it's true, sometimes things come out in the press that are not true, I have to ask about it," Koeman told a news conference.

He said the squad were concentrating on football.

"I've seen them focused on our work and I haven't seen them worried about this issue," said Koeman.

Barcelona needed extra time to eliminate third-tier Cornella in the previous round, the night after Real Madrid had been eliminated by another Segunda B club, Alcoyano.

"We're playing a complicated game, against a complicated team and we have to be good, very focused and in the game to get through," Koeman said.

"We have to work hard, put in the intensity and hopefully we can win without any problems," said Koeman.

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