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Koeman 'offered Griezmann a bigger role and the No 7 shirt BEFORE Messi exit

Koeman 'offered Griezmann a bigger role and the No 7 shirt BEFORE Messi exit

Ronald Koeman promised Antoine Griezmann a more significant role within the Barcelona squad before Lionel Messi announced his departure from the Nou Camp.

The French forward played second fiddle to Messi after struggling to justify his £107.6million move from Atletico Madrid last summer.

Following his appointment as the new Barca coach, Koeman blamed his predecessors - Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien – for playing Griezmann out position.

Koeman has offered the Frenchman the No7 shirt, last worn by Philippe Coutinho – who has been on a season-long loan spell at Bayern Munich and will likely end up back in the Premier League.


L'Equipe claim Griezmann will now be key to the Barcelona team, with the Dutch boss saying: 'With all my respect, Griezmann must play in his position.

'It is not extreme. You have to play in your position.

'This is the most important part of being a coach; knowing your players well and getting the most out of them.'

Koeman is said to have established Griezmann as a focal point of the squad prior to Messi's announcement that he wants to leave the club.

Under pressure Josep Maria Bartomeu even listed Griezmann on his seven-strong 'untouchables' list.

Bartomeu - who is serving his final term of presidency - has since come under criticism, with furious Barcelona supporters having pushed through the Nou Camp gates to protest against the treatment of Messi.

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