Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has responded angrily to reports suggesting Lionel Messi will leave the club, insisting that the reports are “embarrassing”, Goal.com reports.
Argentine forward Messi, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury, has been linked with a Camp Nou exit, with newspaper reports suggesting that he is considering his options at Barca and would be interested in a move to the Premier League.
Bartomeu has has taken a dim view of the reports, though, and refuted any suggestions that the 28-year-old is looking for a way out. He told 8TV: “People who say Messi is leaving Barcelona should be embarrassed.”
“Messi is recovering for the Real Madrid-Barcelona game. He is hoping to play El Clasico, but injuries have their process.” Barca president said.
“Leo and his father said they don’t imagine playing at another club. The relationship with the family is very good. We are not in the negotiation phase yet, when the time comes it will be presented.”
“He has a contract for the next three seasons. Messi is very angry about the Spanish taxation. It is not normal, the information published on Leo Messi. If his tax advisers have made a mistake they have to pay like everyone else. Messi deserves respect as all do.”
When asked about Neymar’s contract situation, with the La Liga champions set to offer a new deal to the former Santos star having released details of their €633 million mega budget, Bartomeu added: “On the renewal of Neymar, this is the season of his renewal, yes. But of course we try not to relay the negotiations and work quietly to be able to announce the extension of his contract.”
Brazil international Neymar has been one of Barca’s standout players this season, with the 23-year-old forward having scored five in his last four games, as well as assisting five of the Blaugrana’s last six goals in all competitions.