Lionel Messi rumored to leave Barcelona next year, but Quique Setien says that he did not hear the forward say so.
Although the coach was adamant that he did not hear the player himself saying that he wants to move, he refused to be drawn into a debate about the future of Lionel Messi.
Barca was held on Tuesday at Atletico Madrid’s 2-2 draw, and Real Madrid’s subsequent win over Getafe on Thursday gave Los Blancos four clear points at LaLiga’s top.
News began circulating that Messi agreed to leave in 2021 when his contract expires after Barca failed to win in the third of the four matches on Thursday.
Although some put that down as a plot to overthrow controversial club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, others are worried about such an idea taking root and becoming reality, with Messi reportedly like the possibility of linking up with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola once again.
Setien maintains that he has heard nothing from Messi about his supposed intention to leave, while there have also been reports of in-house squabbling and a bad relationship between the players and the coaching staff in recent weeks.
“I am not going to speculate on this because I have not heard him say anything about it and it is not my job,” Setien said in Saturday’s pre-match news conference ahead of a meeting with Villarreal via Marca.
“I repeat, he looks well to me, Leo. The rest is speculation that does not even enter my consideration; that’s what you [the media] are for. I see him training well, nothing more.”
Riqui Puig created some impressive displays since the resumption and that wasn’t lost on Setien, the 20-year-old midfielder is a Barca player with a lot of positivity surrounding him.
“We have all seen his level,” he said. “Riqui has taken a very important step and has gained continuity in these games, but I tell him not to rest on what he’s doing, but to improve.”
“He is aware of the opportunity that has been given him, and this is the way. Then the rest, we’ll see.”
Since LaLiga resumed last month, Villarreal has won five and lost none of their six matches, will play against Barca on Sunday as the club returns to action.