Speculation in Spain has centred over the past week on Lionel Messi and his future at Barcelona. However, Barca vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told a Spanish television station that the Argentine is happy about his future.
Messi told Argentinean newspaper Ole on Monday that he could one day leave Barcelona. That has led to speculation about when he will leave but also about his relationship with the club.
Previous comments coming from the forward have suggested that he would end his career at the Nou Camp so his latest remarks have been analysed for clues about why he is in this situation.
But Bartomeu has tried to play down Messi’s remarks and he insists there is no problem at the Nou Camp, blaming instead various external factors.
“Leo Messi is undoubtedly the world’s best player, the best in the history of football, and I know that he is very happy with us,” Bartomeu told Catalan television station 8TV.
“Now, it is true that as a person he is under great pressure. And sometimes we do not like these external issues. For example he has been investigated by the Inland Revenue, as if he is the only player from Spain in this situation. He is not alone in that.
“More is said about his vomiting than his records. They want to beat him off the pitch. On it, he is the number one.”
Bartomeu also spoke of defender Gerard Pique, who has lost his place in the side and who has also endured criticism after getting involved in an incident with local traffic police. Pique was also noticed speaking on his mobile during the recent Supercopa de Catalunya game.
“He is more of a team player,” said Bartomeu. “Like all players he must train and work, and he does, of course. I do not see any other problem apart from those outside sport.
“We have spoken to him, he knows what we think. I hope that will not be repeated, because it is something that we have tried to stop.”
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