Lionel Messi has launched a stinging attack on the media, denying he requested Luis Enrique’s dismissal and insisting he had ‘no intention’ of leaving Barcelona.
Reports originally emanating from Catalonia recently speculated that the Argentine had fallen out with Coach Luis Enrique and sought a move to England, but he took the opportunity after his side’s 3-1 victory over Atletico Madrid last night to set the record straight.
“It’s not good for people to look for rivalry between myself and Luis Enrique because there isn’t any,” he told Barca TV.
“I didn’t throw my toys out the pram because that alone would hurt [the club].
“I’ve heard it all. I never wanted to deny anything until now. It’s been said many times that I pushed out lots of people: Eto’o, Ibrahimovic, Bojan, Guardiola …
“I didn’t ask for our Coach to get fired. It hurts because it comes from people who [supposedly] love Barca, rather it’s from people who want to harm the club.
“This time it didn’t come from Madrid, like it usually does. It came from here.
“I’ve heard people say many things about me before and portray me as if I’m the one running the club.
“I’ve never demanded anything to stay because I have no intention of leaving.
“I heard that my father had spoken with Chelsea and Manchester City … it’s all lies.”
On the topic of the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or, the winner of which will be announced later today, Messi hoped to see the best man claim the award.
“I’m realistic and I know it’ll be difficult. Both Ronaldo and Neuer had spectacular years which saw them achieve many feats,” the four-time winner added.
“One scored many goals and won the Champions League, the other became a world champion. Whoever wins [the award] will deserve it.”