Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman seems to have all but ruled out Antoine Griezmann's exit from the club this summer after appointing him as Lionel Messi's immediate successor in the squad. The Dutch manager has backed his squad to shine this season despite the departure of the Argentine superstar.

Griezmann was poised to leave the club this summer prior to Messi's departure. Barcelona were in advanced talks with Atletico Madrid about a swap deal involving Saul Niguez moving in the opposite direction, but the move collapsed in the final stages.

The France international did attract interest from clubs in England, namely Manchester United and Chelsea, but there were no concrete offers. Once pre-season got underway Koeman changed the Barcelona board's mind about Griezmann's departure with the forward now expected to remain at the Camp Nou.

The former Everton manager revealed that Griezmann will take Messi's place in the Barcelona forward line after his team's 3-0 win over Juventus in the Joan Gamper Trophy on Sunday. The 30-year-old started on the right wing, the position normally occupied by the Argentine, against the Serie A side.

"It is important to have the best, but we don't change our ideas or the way we play either. Griezmann has played in his position and he has done well," Koeman said talking about replacing Messi for the new season, as quoted on AS.

Messi and Barcelona parted ways after 21 years of unbridled success and it has been an emotional week, not only for the fans of the club but also for the players. Koeman was happy to see his team put their emotions aside and show that they are good enough going into the new season.

"It has been a very emotional day, but we are above all professionals. I have told them that we had to accept the situation, that we could not change it and that we had to show that we are good enough."

Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman returns to the club he helped win the European Cup in 1992 Josep LAGO/AFP