• Messi warns Barcelona they must maintain a winning team around him.
• The Argentine star has opened up on Neymar’s transfer saga this summer.
Lionel Messi has all but confirmed he has a clause in his contract at Barcelona that allows him to leave for free, and warned the club they must maintain a winning team around him to ensure he stays.
Asked about the clause that could see him walk away in 2020 Messi told Diario Sport: “I can’t really confirm anything because contracts have confidentiality clauses in them and if I talk I will be breaking that clause. What I can say is that I want to be at Barcelona for as long as possible and play my whole career here because this is my home.”
“I don’t want to have a long contract and just stay here because of the contract. I want to stay because I see that there is a winning project at the club. I want to carry on winning things. The clause and the money means nothing to me. I am motivated by other things and the most important thing is to have a winning project.”
The comments will be interpreted as a gentle warning to the club. Messi added: ‘Obviously I want to win. And I want to win at this club. It is my home. I have no intention of going anywhere but I want to keep winning and competing.’
Messi denied requesting the signing of Neymar although he did admit to giving his opinion to the club over the Brazilian’s possible return.
Asked if it was true that he told the club to get Neymar, Messi said: “Ask for him to be signed, no. Obviously, we comment on it when we hear that Ney could come back.”
“We gave our opinion as to whether it was good or bad for him to come. We never said that the club had to sign him. We did not impose, we gave our opinion as we did with Griezmann or other players who have come or not come.”
Asked if he was disappointed by how the summer saga turned out he said: “Disappointed no. I would have liked for him to come and be with us but we have a spectacular squad to compete for everything. I am not disappointed, I would just have liked to play alongside him again. Nothing more.”