Barcelona star Lionel Messi has given a wide-ranging interview to El Mundo Deportivo where he insisted he has no intentions of leaving the club.
There have been multiple reports that the Argentine star is not happy at the Camp Nou following a series of incidents in recent times.
However, he has now refuted such reports while also shedding light on his thoughts on a whole range of other matters.
“I have explained a lot that my idea is to stay, so as long as the club and fans want that, there will never be a problem,” Messi explained.
“I’ve also said I’d like everyone to be happy – the club and the fans, for us to have a winning project and to be meeting all our objectives.”
Messi then went on to explain about the reported release clause in his contract, which supposedly gives him the power to leave the club for free at the end of any given season.
“I have always had the decision and not just because of the clause,” he added.
“A lot of times I have had the opportunity to leave the club and there have been times that clubs were even going to pay my clause, but I never wanted to go.
“As long as the club wants me, we have no problem.”
Messi then went on to speak about his former boss Ernesto Valverde, who was sacked from Coach last month after guiding the club to successive La Liga titles.
“He is not just a great Coach but a great person,” continued Messi.
“We were more to blame than he was. It is easier for a club to sack the Coach than the players and it is such a shame that the final game was the game against Atletico.
“We were five minutes from winning that game in the Supercopa and the players could not see it out, it’s a big shame.”
That then brought the conversation along to Messi’s online comment to the club’s sporting director Eric Abidal.
Former France international defender Abidal hit out at the work ethic of the club’s players in interviews with Diario Sport and El Mundo Deportivo earlier this month, saying that was a major reason he decided to dismiss Valverde.
“Many players weren’t satisfied or working hard and there was also an internal communication problem,” Abidal told Diario Sport.
“The relationship between the Coach and the dressing room has always been good but there are things as an ex-player that I could smell. I told the club what I thought and we reached a decision (on sacking Valverde).”
Club captain Lionel Messi then responded on Instagram, writing: “When you talk about players, you have to give names because if not, it gives air to things which are not true.
“Sincerely, I don’t like to do these things but I think that people have to be responsible for their jobs and own their decisions.
“The players [are responsible] for what happens on the pitch and we are the first to admit when we haven’t been good. The heads of the sports department have to take their responsibilities too and above all own the decisions they make.”
Messi then explained his comments to Abidal: “I have no idea what he was thinking with those comments but I made my response because I felt I was under attack.
“Too many people already attack our team, how we are run, how we supposedly select and sack the Coach, then personally that I have too much power.
“It annoys me that anyone, never mind someone with the club, would put the players under scrutiny for that.
“He himself has to take responsibility for what he has done.”