He's untouchable - Barcelona president breaks silence on Lionel Messi future
Barcelona’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu (L) and CEO of Japanese company Rakuten Hiroshi Mikitani display the FC Barcelona’s new jersey after signing an agreement between FC Barcelona and Rakuten Inc., at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on November 16, 2016 [AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE]

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted Lionel Messi is going nowhere this summer amid speculation linking the Argentinean forward with a move to the Premier League.

The club have been in turmoil since the embarrassing 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final last week, and manager Quique Setien and director Eric Abidal have already been shown the door.

Some reports have suggested Messi has grown disillusioned with life at the Nou Camp, and both Manchester City and Manchester United have been suggested as possible destinations for a move.

But speaking to Barcelona’s TV channel, Bartomeu assured supporters Messi would not be leaving, while he also confirmed Ronald Koeman would be the club’s next manager.

“Messi is untouchable and non-transferable,” he said. “He knows it, we all know it. But there are various non-transferable players like Ter Stegen, Lenglet, Semedo, De Jong, Griezmann, Dembele… players we are counting on in the future.

“He 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.

He's untouchable - Barcelona president breaks silence on Lionel Messi future
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi gestures during a training session at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Thursday Aug. 13, 2020. Barcelona will play Bayern Munich in a Champions League quarterfinals soccer match on Friday. (Rafael Marchante/Pool via AP)

“Messi wants to finish his career with Barcelona and Koeman sees him as a fundamental part of his project.”

He also added that there could be a number of players that are sold this summer, with the club aiming to completely renovate their squad before next season.

“The time for some players at Barcelona has come to an end,” Bartomeu added. “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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