Ronald Koeman has hit back at Miralem Pjanic's claims that he disrespected the Bosnia & Herzegovina international at Barcelona, stating that the club had "other players better than him".
The Blaugrana have loaned out the midfielder on a season-long deal to Besiktas, just one year after he made a major move to Camp Nou from Juventus.
Pjanic hit out at his treatment by Koeman earlier this month, indicating that the Dutchman restricted his opportunities - and now the former Netherlands boss has responded in kind.
What has been said?
"I think it's a bit of frustration on the part of the player that I understand," Koeman told Mundo Deportivo.
"But in our way of playing, in our ideas with the ball and without the ball, he has lost the battle with other midfielders, and nothing else.
"I wish him the best. It has been complicated. We have tried, we have tried and we have seen that there are other players better than him."
Pjanic aggrieved after exit
That Pjanic - once regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world game - is now plying his trade outside of Europe's top five leagues speaks to how far his stock has fallen under Koeman.
The 31-year-old played only half of Barcelona's games in La Liga last season, and played no part in their Copa del Rey triumph.
"I always wanted to play for Barca but I didn't expect the situation to get so complicated," Pjanic previously stated.