Lionel Messi has responded to speculations flying everywhere that he might leave Barcelona next year.
The Argentine star insists he is happy to stay at Barcelona but only while they are a ‘winning team’ with the Champions League especially important to him.
Messi suffered disappointment last season with the Spanish giants losing heavily at Anfield as Liverpool defeated them in the semi-finals to ensure it will now be five years without lifting the European Cup.
Messi is currently dealing with a calf injury and has failed to feature so far this season. But the 32-year-old responded to Josep Maria Bartomeu revealing the No 10 could leave the Nou Camp for free at the end of the season due to a clause in his contract, refusing to deny the report but underlining his willingness to continue at the club while the team is competitive.
“I can’t confirm anything because there are confidentiality agreements in our contracts. What I can say is that I want to be at Barcelona as long as possible,” Messi told Spanish newspaper Sport.
“I’ve said throughout my career that this is my home. But I also don’t want to have a long-term contract and only be here because of it.”
“I want to be here because physically I’m fine, to play and be an important member of the squad. And as I said before, I need see there’s a winning team because I want to keep winning things at this club. For me, money or a clause don’t mean anything. Other things motivate me and the most important thing is having a winning team.”
“It’s clear I would like to win the Champions League because it’s been a long time since I last did that. As a club, and on a personal level, we must win the Champions League.”
Bartomeu revealed last week that Messi has been handed freedom over his future with two years remaining on his contract.
“Messi has a contract that we signed two years ago and it runs for four years,” said the Barcelona president. “Before the last season, 2020-21, he can leave Barcelona, retire from football or play where he likes,” explained Bartomeu.
“Iniesta, Xavi and Puyol also had those clauses. For those players and Leo Messi, we don’t need to worry. I doubt he’d want to play for another club, but he has earned liberty over his future. He’s a big Barca fan and I have no doubt he’ll want to continue until 2021 and we hope another year too.”