Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has named Lionel Messi as being untouchable & non-transferable, despite reports the club’s greatest goalscorer wants to leave this summer.
Following Barca’s 8-2 humiliation last week in the Champions League quarter final, at the hands of Bayern Munich, it’s believed that Messi wants out at the Nou Camp.
The club is in disarray, with the president having become hugely unpopular amongst the fan base, but Bartomeu has said that the star forward is going nowhere and listed five other players who won’t be sold.
“Messi is untouchable & non-transferable,” the 57-year-old told a press conference on Tuesday, “He knows it, we all know it.
“But there are various non-transferable players like (Marc Andre) Ter Stegen, (Clement) Lenglet, (Nelson) Semedo, (Frenkie) De Jong, (Antoine) Griezmann, (Ousmane) Dembele… players we are counting on in the future.”
After naming the original six, the club president, whose term will end next March with an election, added youngster Ansu Fati to the list by claiming he’d rejected offers for the young forward. “We have had (offers) for Ansu Fati, for example,” Bartomeu added.
“But Barca does not want to sell players, although we receive several offers for players. We don’t want to sell him. He has a great future. I’m telling you from here, he’s non-transferable.”
Even before Friday’s annihilation at the hands of the German champions it had been reported that Messi’s time at the Nou Camp was coming to an end.
There had been reports that he wouldn’t sign a new contract and would instead leave the club next summer, although nothing had been made official.
In the wake of the loss that process seems to have been sped up but, elaborating on the Argentine’s future, the club president added, “I have spoken with [Ronald] Koeman and the pillar of our project is Messi.
“He has a contract until 2021, I speak a lot with Leo and more regularly with his father. He is number one in the world. There is no doubt that in Koeman’s new project you can count on Messi.”
Koeman’s biggest task might be to try and convince the six time Ballon d’Or winner to stay with the club, although Bartomeu’s replacement might actually have a greater impact on that.
Before that though he must improve a side that threw away the lead in La Liga to fierce rivals Real Madrid before one of the worst performances in the club’s history saw them knocked out of Europe in embarrassing fashion for the third season in-a-row.
That’s a lot easier with Messi than without him.
Do you think Messi will stay this summer or leave? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.