Lyon chief cites Ronaldo and Messi in snide Depay farewell message

Memphis Depay is closing in on a move to Barcelona, but has been sent a stinging review from his former employers.

The Dutchman has been in negotiations with the Blaugrana over a free transfer after failing to agree to a contract extension with Lyon.

Depay was offered a new deal to remain in France, but ultimately decided to run his contract down and search for a new club.

Signed from Manchester United in a deal worth £16million in 2017, the winger has enjoyed an impressive four-and-a-half season spell, culminating in a 2020/21 campaign which saw him score 20 Ligue 1 goals.

Memphis Depay is said to be closing in on a move to Barcelona
Memphis Depay is said to be closing in on a move to Barcelona

That wasn’t enough for Lyon to secure Champions League football and that all but confirmed that Depay would need to move on in order to play at the top level.

But speaking after the 27-year-old played his final game for the club, Lyon’s sporting director Juninho issued some honest parting remarks.

Although he had no major issues with his decision to leave the Groupama Stadium, he claimed Depay wanted the whole team built around him – a luxury he thinks can only be afforded to the game’s true greats.

“Memphis, he has done his time,” Juninho told OLTV. “The president made a lot of efforts for him to extend. Memphis, he wanted a team for him.

“That is not a criticism. I had a good relationship with him. However, it was as if the whole team had to work around him and that was very hard.

“Because everyone needs to feel like they are working equally.

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“There are only 4 players in the world who you should do everything for him: Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappé.

“If you have one of them, things should work around them. Sorry, I think Memphis is good, but not at the level of those four. And I think he needs to work more off of the ball.”

Barca remain the front-runners for his signature, although it is believed he is waiting to discover his compatriot Ronald Koeman’s fate as manager first.

Lyon sporting director claimed Depay wanted an entire team built around him
Lyon sporting director claimed Depay wanted an entire team built around him

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Koeman has been locked in meetings with Barca bosses after a disappointing first season in charge.

He does still have 12 months remaining on his current deal, but after talks with president Joan Laporta, Koeman’s future remains a source of speculation.

Whoever Depay does decide to join, he will do so without the help of an intermediary after joining Manchester City ’s Kevin De Bruyne in negotiating his own contract without the help of the agent.

“It is time for me to take control of my career,” Depay explained on Twitter .

“As I have come to a point where I need to make important choices about my future, I have decided to negotiate my future deals together with my team of trusted confidants, backed by legal experts.

“I will decide about my destination myself. You will be the first to know.”

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