Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona has never looked more insecure, and the club’s president is now on damage control as he tries to allay fans fears that the Argentinian could leave Spain.
Ever since Real Sociedad beat Barcelona over the weekend, reports from Spain have suggested that the 27-year-old is considering leaving the club due to a falling out with their current manager Luis Enrique.
But now the BBC have reported that Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has declared that Lionel Messi will be staying with Barcelona until at least 2018, which is when his current contract comes to an end.
Meanwhile, he also looked to confirm that Lionel Messi is happy being at Barcelona and he is intent on winning more titles with the La Liga giants.
“Messi has a contract until 2018, he is happy with the club and wants to win more titles. There is nothing to panic about in that regard.”
Bartomeu didn’t stop there, though. He also went on to declare that Lionel Messi is still the “central figure” at Barcelona before adding that Barcelona’s team will continue to be built around him.
“Messi is the central figure. The team is built around him. The whole footballing world knows that Barca don’t want to sell Messi. For me he is the best player in the world.”
However, these assurances have done nothing to stop rumors, via the Mirror, that both Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain are preparing bids for the player.
Lionel Messi became the all-time record goalscorer in La Liga earlier this year, and he now sits at the top of these charts with 258 strikes. He is also the Champions League top scorer with 75 goals, and he even won four consecutive Ballon d’Ors between 2010 and 2013.
Ahead of Barcelona’s Copa del Rey clash with Elche on Thursday, Luis Enrique was asked whether Lionel Messi was currently happy at Barcelona, but he refused to comment.
“I don’t want to comment. We know things change and a month is a long time. I have the same relationship with all my players that I had at the start of the season. That has not changed.”
Barcelona’s form under Luis Enrique, who took over in the summer, has been rather patchy. They have already lost 4 La Liga games, and even though they only sit one point off the top of the table, fans have been hugely disappointed with their style of play. Luis Enrique also confirmed on Wednesday that he hasn’t received an ultimatum from the club.
[Image via Melty]