Lionel Messi is not for sale, says Barcelona president
Josep Maria Bartomeu assumed control at Barca last week
Bartomeu says the club will begin negotiations with Messi over a new contract
Former president Sandro Rosell stepped down last week
Lionel Messi is not for sale.
That was the defiant message from Barcelona’s new president, who is adamant that the club’s all-time leading goalscorer is going nowhere amid reports French club Paris St Germain want to sign the Argentine.
Josep Maria Bartomeu will sit down with the four-time World Player of the Year to thrash out a new contract which will see him remain as most highly-paid at the Camp Nou.
“We want to sit down, without any rush, with Leo’s father – it’s not something that’s happening tomorrow, we have plenty of time, but we will do what we have to to ensure he’s the best paid player,” said Josep Maria Bartomeu, who assumed control at Barca after Sandro Rosell’s resignation last week.
Messi arrived at Barca in 2000 , graduating through the club’s youth system before going on to establish himself as the best player on the planet.
Since making his first team debut in 2004, Messi has helped the team win six Spanish league titles, two Spanish Cups and three European Champions League crowns.
The club’s determination to keep hold of Messi will be sweet relief to Barca fans after a turbulent few weeks.
Former president Rosell stepped down after a Spanish judge’s decision to investigate the deal which saw Neymar move to Catalonia from Brazilian team Santos last June.
The club initially announced the deal was worth $78 million, but the breakdown of the agreement was never revealed.
A Barcelona member launched a case against Rosell for not disclosing the full details and the club was asked by Spanish authorities to hand over documentation, as well as accounts for the past three years.
Bartomeu, who will continue as president until the end of the current term, which finishes in 2016, explained that he spoke with senior players at the club before discussing details of Neymar’s contract at a previous press conference.
“I explained to the captains that we would be showing details of Neymar’s contract,” said the former vice president. “We have to be grateful to Neymar that he came here, when he could have earned more money at other clubs.”