Contrary to the usual bells and whistles that accompany any mention of FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, head coach Ronald Koeman is singing a different tune. The newly-appointed Dutch manager has admitted that the Argentine's performances "could be better."

Messi has scored only once during the current season. However, Koeman insists that the captain is "happy."

Following the "brutal drama" over the summer wherein the Argentina international declared his intention to leave the club, he is now stuck at the Camp Nou at least for another season. His contract expires in June 2021, but it's a long season before then.

He was forced to stay with the club or face a messy legal battle over his release clause. In the end, Barcelona did not budge and the 33-year-old forward had no choice but to stay. Before the start of the season, despite initially wanting to leave, he spoke up about his continued affection for the club which has been his home throughout his football career.

"I don't have any complaints or doubts about his effort," Koeman told the BBC, but admitted that "right now his performances could be better. On a day-to-day basis, he's happy and wants to play and be the team's captain."

Over the weekend, the club needed his magic on the pitch but it simply wasn't there as they lost 1-0 to Getafe.

After the La Liga loss, they will open their Champions League campaign against Ferencvaros on Tuesday (20:00 BST kick-off). They would want to open the campaign in style, as they prepare to face Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus later in the group stage of the competition.

Earlier, Koeman said that Messi's teammates will have to "do a lot of running" this season, if they want to get the most out of their iconic captain. After all, football is a team sport, he said. He admits that at this point, they are not the favourites to win the Champions League, but he knows that they can go far.

It remains to be seen what Messi can achieve with the club with what may well be his final season at the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi and Josep Maria Bartomeu
If Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu had not blocked him, Lionel Messi looked certain to leave the club AFP / Manu Fernandez