I have no intentions of leaving Barcelona: Messi hits back
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi insists he does not want to leave and says reports he demanded coach Luis Enrique should be sacked are “lies”.
It was reported the 27-year-old wanted to leave after a row with Enrique.
“I have no intentions of leaving for any team, not Chelsea nor Manchester City,” he said, after inspiring a 3-1 victory over Atletico Madrid.
“I’m tired of all the things that people have been saying. I didn’t ask the club to fire anyone.”
Messi, who will find out on Monday if he has won a fifth Ballon d’Or, has spent his entire career at the Nou Camp, winning a host of team and individual honours since making his debut in 2004.
It had been suggested Barcelona’s record goalscorer might leave the Catalan club following reports of a training-ground row with Enrique, who took over last summer.
But Messi added: “People make it out as if I run the club and that’s not how it is. I don’t ask anyone to make decisions.
“Everything that has been said is lies and I want people to know that. Everything that has been said is false.
“People say these things because they want to cause us harm. It hurts because it came from Barca people. We must be united.”
Messi played a starring role as second-placed Barca beat defending La Liga champions Atletico to maintain their pursuit of leaders Real Madrid.
The Argentina captain set up goals for Neymar and Luis Suarez, before adding a late third, to help his side move within a point of their arch-rivals.
The victory lifted the mood at the 22-time Spanish champions following a tense week where current incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu called for presidential elections at the end of the season.