‘Messi not for sale’

Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has said the club will never sell Lionel Messi and will soon renew his contract.

In an interview with Sky Sports Bartomeu spoke on a number of subjects, from the resignation of Sandro Rosell to the state of the League title race this season, as well as Messi’s contract.

Bartomeu has previously spoken of the importance of signing Messi to a new deal and his stance hasn’t altered.

“We cannot say when it’ll happen. In these things we try to be as sensitive as possible.

“What I can say is that he is the best player in the world and we want him to be the best paid.

“Messi is the best and we want him to be happy.

“As a player he was almost born in Barcelona and he wants to remain here.

“If everyone is satisfied we will have Messi for many years. He’s not for sale.”

Bartomeu also revealed that when Tata Martino was approached to take over as the team’s Coach, he said that with the players available, success was guaranteed.

“He has adapted quickly. He is a Coach we knew from Paraguay and Newell’s.

“We knew he played in a similar way to us. He came and said “I have the best players. I can’t go wrong.”’

Barca currently top La Liga but are level on points with both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Bartomeu welcomed the competition in a general sense but admitted he would prefer a much more serene title race.

“In recent years it’s only been Real Madrid and Barcelona competing for the title. I think the last time [there were three] was Valencia in 2003 and 2004.

“Atletico are doing a good job, not for Barcelona but for their fans. This is good news for them.”

Barca, having reached the Copa del Rey final, are competing on a third front – the Champions League, where they meet Manchester City later this month.

The fixture sees former Barca executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, now at City, meet their old club.

“This is the life and the business of football,” Bartomeu said on the former Barca pair.

“They are professionals, hired by City. Good luck to them, except when they play us.”

Tags Bartomeu Lionel Messi