Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has revealed that he is not considering leaving Camp Nou and he will stay as long as he is wanted there.
Now 32-years-old, Messi is beginning to approach the end of his career. He has a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave this summer, and there have been rumours that he could exit Barcelona to retire in either Argentina or the USA.
However, speaking to Mundo Deportivo, Messi insisted that he wants to stay at the club to win more silverware, but it will all come down to whether Barcelona officials actually want to keep him around.
“I already said it many times that my idea is [to stay] and, as long as the club and people continue to want that from me, there will never be any problem,” he said.
“Many times I also said that I would like to be there and that we, as a club, are all good, that people are happy with the team there is, that there is a winning project and that we continue to compete for all the titles as we always did in this club.
“That is my idea, stay in this club. I want to win another Champions League, I want to continue winning leagues and I always aspire to that.”
The presence of the break clause in his contract has certainly worried fans, but Messi insisted that he has turned down plenty of opportunities to leave in the past, and he still has no desire to part ways.
“Actually, I always had the option, not only because of that clause,” he explained.
“On several occasions, I could have left the club, there were many interested clubs that were willing to pay my release clause, but at no time did it occur to me to leave – not even now. I repeat it again. If the club wants [me to stay], no problem.”
Finally, he discussed his relationship with club director of football Eric Abidal. The pair clashed after Abidal accused several Barcelona players of giving up during former boss Ernesto Valverde’s final days as manager, with Messi challenging the Frenchman to come out and name names.
“I don’t know what happened for him to say that, but I think I responded because I felt attacked,” he said.
“I felt that he was attacking the players. It bothered me that a person from the club, a technical secretary… to put the players in the middle of a dismissal such as that of the coach seemed crazy.”