For the last one or two days, the rumours of Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona gained so much momentum that it seemed, the Barca legend would end ties with the club and leave somewhere else when his contract would be up in 2021. The blind fans got emotional and started to spend sleepless nights. But as a matter of fact, it is highly unlikely, Messi would leave Barcelona.
Barcelona manager Quique Setien shares the same thought.
Here are the excerpts of the conversation published in Marca:
On Messi leaving Barcelona
“I’m not going to speculate on this, I haven’t heard anything from him”.
“I have no record of such news. I don’t want to speculate. It’s not my place”.
“He seems fine. The rest is speculation that I do not even enter into. That’s what you are there for”.
“I see him training well, we talk about what we have to talk about, no more”.
“He is perfectly aware of what he has to do at every moment in the match, he is not influenced by age”.
“I see him exactly the same”.
On Antoine Griezmann coming as a substitute on the 89th minute
“The footballer is fine; I’ve exchanged words with him”.
“He’s a great professional. He’s a player who can understand this situation deep down, as he has done in other stages of his footballing life”.
“He’s an extraordinary kid, tremendously professional and it won’t affect him when he plays again. He is very positive. And we can count on him one hundred percent when he returns to the pitch.
“Griezmann is a great player and very important for the club and for the team”.
“If he plays, you ask me why Ansu Fati doesn’t play… everybody can’t play and I decide according to my criteria, according to what they bring. I’m not fickle”.
“I take into account the hierarchy, but at a club like Barcelona, with so many great players, not everyone will be able to play”.
“I know that some will be angry, but not everyone can be there. It’s my decision and I have to take responsibility”.
On Riqui Puig
“We’ve all seen his level.”
“He has taken a very important step and has earned continuity in these games”.
“But I tell him not to stop what he’s doing, but to improve”.
“He is aware of the opportunity he has been given”.
On Setien being sacked
“I’ve gone through this before. We can’t control this situation.”
“This is the circus we’re in. I try to focus and not wear myself out reading and listening”.
“I know there is noise, but I focus on my work”.
“It’s not the first situation or the last that will occur when the results don’t go your way”.