Barcelona President Provides Major Update On Lionel Messi's Future During Club Address
The Catalan giants suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Friday night and the fallout has been huge.
Quique Setien was sacked as manager on Monday while Eric Abidal stepped down from his role as sporting director the following day.
Rumours emerged over the weekend claiming Messi was ready to walk away from the club, but Bartomeu has squashed all chances of a transfer.
"Messi is untouchable and non-transferable," he told Barca TV. "He knows it, we all know it. But there are various non-transferable players like [Marc-Andre] Ter Stegen, [Clement] Lenglet, [Nelson] Semedo, [Frenkie] De Jong, [Antoine] Griezmann, [Ousmane] Dembele... players we are counting on in the future."
He then went on to reveal Ronald Koeman will officially become manager in the next few days and he sees the 33-year-old as a vital part of his team.
"He [Messi] has a contract until 2021, I speak a lot with Leo and more regularly with his father. He is number one in the world. There is no doubt that in Koeman's new project you can count on Messi.
"Messi wants to finish his career with Barcelona and Koeman sees him as a fundamental part of his project."
Potential signings were also discussed, with the club frequently linked to Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar and Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez.
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Bartomeu explained those moves were unlikely due to the coronavirus pandemic's impact on world football.
"Sign Neymar? His club does not want to sell.
"We spoke to Inter Milan about Lautaro but then the competitions restarted and there hasn't been contact since. We'll see what happens.
"We have money. Problem is the player wage bill. Some players will have to take a pay cut."
- Messi staying
- Koeman close
- No Neymar return
- Lautaro not joining
Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has given a club update after a turbulent few days for the Catalans...#Club2020 pic.twitter.com/GE8stYhkms
- Football on BT Sport #Club2020 (@btsportfootball) August 18, 2020
He also added that it is time for players that made Barcelona "the best club in the world" to move on.
"The time for some players at Barcelona has come to an end," the 57-year-old continued. "There will be replacements and new leaders who will take the team forward.
"I want to thank the players for making us the best club in the world, but it's time for some of those players to go. Some senior players will be sold, but they will be acknowledged with a lot of gratitude and appreciation."
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Featured Image Credit: Barca TV & PA Images
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