Messi vows to stay at Barcelona 'for as long as they want me'

By Joe Wright 18 January 2017 213
Messi vows to stay at Barcelona 'for as long as they want me'

Lionel Messi insists that he will stay at Barcelona for as long as he is wanted, despite reported interest from the Premier League.

The Argentina star's future remains the subject of debate given the confusion surrounding talks over a new contract at Camp Nou.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu said last week that he is not concerned about the prospect of failing to agree an extension to Messi's deal, which expires at the end of next season, although some reports in Spain have suggested that the 29-year-old is becoming frustrated with a lack of concrete discussions between the club and his representatives.

Such rumours have led to speculation that Messi could be sold at the end of the season, with clubs including Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea reportedly monitoring his situation.

However, when asked whether he would consider moving to England's top flight, Messi told Coach magazine: "I have always said that Barcelona has given me everything and I am here for as long as they want me to be."

Links with City have persisted ever since former Barca boss Pep Guardiola took over as manager, although the Catalan coach has come under increasing scrutiny given his side's inconsistent form, which culminated in a 4-0 loss to Everton on Sunday.

Messi, however, remains confident that Guardiola will be a success in England.

"It is a very competitive league, last season showed that, so it makes it very difficult to predict," he said. "Of course Pep is a very successful coach, he will be adjusting to the league, but I am sure that he will be successful."

Barca remain in the hunt for a treble of LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League this season, although they sit two points behind leaders Real Madrid having played a game more.

Messi claims that there is no single competition that Barca will prioritise in the remaining months of the campaign and admits the prospect of failure is spurring him on.

"At Barcelona we want to win everything," he said. " At the start of the season there is an expectation that we can win everything, we try not to prioritise or make one trophy more important than another

"I hate to lose. It does not just affect me for a few hours after the game, but for longer. I cannot stand the feeling to lose. You can use that to make sure you give everything you need to to win."

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Joe Wright