Koeman stands firm on young contract rebel Ilaix

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Madrid, Aug 20 (IANS) FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman spoke about the situation of youngster Ilaix Moriba in his Friday lunchtime press conference ahead of Saturday’s visit to play Athletic Bilbao.

The 18-year-old Ilaix is one of the most promising players in the Barca youth system after breaking into the first team at the end of last season, but his refusal to sign a new contract has seen him forced to train with the B-team.

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Local media reported that Ilaix is willing to spend a year without playing so he can leave on a free transfer when his current deal expires at the end of June 2022.

“I spoke to him two or three weeks ago, more as a person than as the coach of FC Barcelona,” said Koeman, reports Xinhua.

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The coach admitted that Ilaix’s situation was “horrible.”

“He is the future of the club, but he isn’t playing and he isn’t training with us,” he said.

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Koeman explained that “the club has told me what the offer is for this player. My advice to him is that money is not the most important thing at his age, playing games is, but the player and his agent think differently.”

“I am disappointed for him. I think more about football than contract and when you are 18-years old, money can’t be so important to you,” he insisted.

Barca’s main problem at the moment is a debt of over 1.3 billion euros according to club president Joan Laporta, with this debt also affecting the wage ceiling at the club which meant they were unable to extend the contract of Lionel Messi, while other players have taken important wage cuts.

–IANS

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