The story appears on

Page A16

July 8, 2020

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Barca boss keen to re-sign Messi

Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu responded to a storm of speculation by saying yesterday that the club had “an obligation to re-sign” Lionel Messi, calling him “the best player in history.”

“Normally we do not explain the discussions with players but it is evident that we have the obligation to re-sign him,” Bartomeu told Catalan radio station Rac1. “He is the best player in history. He has many years of football left.”

Bartomeu also said coach Quique Setien would keep his job despite a run of unconvincing form since La Liga’s restart that has seen the reigning champion lose top spot to Real Madrid.

The president said he was happy with the direction of the club and maintained he had been right to replace Ernesto Valverde in January.

Last week, another radio station, Cadena Ser, reported that Messi had broken off negotiations on extending his contract, which runs until 2021, and was thinking of leaving Barcelona.

The report said Messi was frustrated with the club’s failure to build a winning squad and was tired of leaks from the club which paint him in a bad light. He was also reportedly upset at reports that the players had got Valverde fired.

But Bartomeu said: “I see a relaxed Leo... He has said many times that he wants to finish (his career) at Barca.”

Bartomeu, who must stand down in 2021, insisted that he sees Messi “retiring at Barca under another president because he will sign for another spell.”

Bartomeu said he spoke to his captain on Saturday. “I talk to the players very often. Not only with Leo, but also with the group, especially the captains.”

Before beating Villarreal 4-1 on Sunday, Barcelona had drawn three of its previous four matches and slipped four points behind Real in the title race, putting Setien under pressure.

“Setien will continue, of course,” said Bartomeu. “I am quite happy with the development we showed in the games despite the draws. I do not regret the change of Valverde. The team needed a boost. Setien knows our DNA, the model and he has brought fresh air and new ideas and is working hard.”




 

Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend