Ronald Koeman admits Barcelona may face crippling difficulties in front of goal if Lionel Messi decides to leave this summer.
Messi, 33, scored his 30th La Liga goal of the season – his 38th in all competitions – in what may have been his final Camp Nou game on Sunday night.
The Argentine opened the scoring in the first half against Celta Vigo only for Santi Mina’s double to fire the visitors to victory, ending Barcelona’s faint hopes of the title.
Antoine Griezmann (12) is the only other Barca player in double figures for league goals and Koeman confesses Messi’s attacking output is irreplaceable.
“He has scored 30 goals in La Liga and has given us many points in La Liga,” said the Barcelona boss.
“It’s a question for Leo. For my part and the club, let’s hope he stays with us. Because if Leo’s not here, we have a doubt who’s going to score the goals.”
Messi has a matter of weeks remaining on his contract in Catalonia and is yet to make a decision on where his future lies.
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Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are believed to be interested in signing the six-time Ballon d’Or winner on a free transfer this summer.
But Barcelona president Joan Laporta, like Koeman, is desparate for Messi to stay with the club and has reportedly tabled a complex 10-year contract.
Jordi Alba has played alongside Messi for nine seasons but was unable to shed any more light on his future plans.
“Let’s hope not, although it’s a decision [Messi] has to make,” he said when quizzed on whether it was his teammate’s final Camp Nou outing.
The dismal defeat by Celta Vigo means Barcelona have only won one of their last five La Liga games and the highest they can finish in the table is third.
The Catalans travel to Eibar on Sunday for their final game of the season.
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