Posted by News Express | 21 December 2013 | 2,778 times
The future of Lionel Messi at Barcelona appeared increasingly uncertain on Friday after the Argentine launched a remarkable and unprecedented attack on club director Javier Faus.
Messi accused Faus of “not knowing anything about football” in a radio interview which appears to have thrown the La Liga leaders into a crisis and increased fears that the four-time Ballon D’Or winner could be heading for the exit.
Considered the most talented player operating in European football alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi has endured his first difficult season at Barcelona after an injury-plagued campaign. There have been persistent rumours that he is unhappy to have lost star billing to £48.6 million Brazilian forward Neymar.
The situation became even more fraught this week when Faus, Barcelona’s financial vice-president, insisted they had no obligation to review Messi’s contract, which was extended in February to 2016.
But Messi, who is normally a reluctant interviewee, has responded angrily to increase the pressure on the current administration.
“Barcelona is the best club in the world and should be represented by the best board members, too,” he said. “Senor Faus is someone who doesn’t know anything about football and wants to manage Barcelona like a business, which it is not.
“Besides, I would remind him that neither I nor anyone from my camp has asked for any wage increase and he knows that very well.”
Messi’s comments have created a storm in Spain and came despite the attempts of Sandro Rosell, the Barcelona president, to defuse the row.
Rosell is believed to have spoken to Messi and his father, Jorge, to apologise, while refusing to close the door on opening negotiations over a new contract next year.
Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes called for calm and downplayed any conflict between the club and its most valuable player. “We are all pulling in the same direction in this club,” he said.
Messi is still recovering from a hamstring injury that he picked up in November and is not expected to return until the new year. He has played only 11 league games this season and Neymar’s arrival this summer has seen Messi’s status as Barcelona’s prized asset come under threat.
Neymar’s wages have been the subject of much intrigue ever since his signing from Santos, with suggestions that he earns more than Messi only serving to add to the uncertainty.
Chelsea and Manchester United have been linked with possible moves for Messi over the past 12 months, though it will require.
•Credit (except headline): Telegraph (UK). Photo shows Lionel Messi.
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