Barcelona president labels Lionel Messi demands ‘a lie’

Date published: Friday 7th July 2017 10:53

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has denied that Lionel Messi has ever made demands about player recruitment.

Messi, who signed a new deal with Barca earlier this week, reportedly demanded that Barcelona sell four players this summer.

Don Balon reported this week that Messi was furious that Barca were pipped to the La Liga title by Real Madrid last season and claimed he told the club to ditch Arda Turan, Munir, Thomas Vermaelen and Andre Gomes as he felt they were not good enough to play for the club.

There have also been reports over the years suggesting that Messi has a huge influence on managerial appointments and player arrivals at the Catalan club, but Bartomeu has refuted those suggestions.

“Messi has not asked for anything. People say (former coach) Tata Martino came because Messi proposed it – it’s a lie,” the president told Sport.

“Luis Enrique is a coach that we chose and the players knew later, and it was the same with (new coach) Ernesto Valverde.”

Five-times Ballon d’Or winner Messi penned a new deal to keep him at Barcelona until the summer of 2021 earlier in the week.

The Argentina superstar was contracted to the La Liga giants until 2018, but his extension by a further three years will keep the 30-year-old at the club for the foreseeable future and ends speculation he could be lured away from the Nou Camp.

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Formal signing of the contract is expected to take place after the Argentina international, currently on honeymoon after his wedding to Antonella Roccuzzo, has returned for pre-season training.

The buy-out clause in Messi’s new deal has reportedly been set at €265million, some fee despite the Argentine’s advancing years and Bartomeu revealed the deal was “expected”.

“This is expected news. An era of football began in 2008 when Pep (Guardiola) gave him the command of the team and this era will continue.

“It is an era of success, in which Messi leads the world of football, and to have him with us for four more years makes us optimistic,” added Bartomeu

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