Messi hints at Barcelona exit

The Argentine attacker says he is focused on winning trophies with the Catalan club this season, but admits he is no longer sure about his long-term future at Camp Nou


Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has hinted for the first time that he could leave the Catalan giants in the near future.

The 27-year-old has long maintained his happiness at Camp Nou and always insisted that he would only move to join boyhood club Newell’s in Argentina at the end of his career.

However, the attacker has endured some tough times over the last year in Catalunya due to injuries, a tax fraud case and troubles on the pitch as Barca won only the Supercopa de Espana in 2013-14.

“I’m just living the present,” Messi told Argentine sports paper Ole in an interview. “I’m thinking about having a great year at Barcelona and about winning the titles we want to win at Barcelona. Nothing more.

“After that, we’ll see. Football has a lot of twists and turns. I always said that I’d like to stay there forever, but things don’t always work out as you want them to.”

Asked if he would leave due to a personal decision or a club choice, Messi added: “I have said it many times – if it were up to me, I would stay forever. But like I said just now, things don’t always turn out how you would like, especially in football, which is so changeable and in which so many things happen.

“It’s difficult and more so in these difficult times that Barcelona are going through at the moment.”

The Blaugrana have been hit by several scandals off the pitch this year, with the resignation of former president Sandro Rosell back in January, while back-to-back defeats in La Liga (including the Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu last month) have seen Luis Enrique’s side overtaken by fierce rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table.

“It’s a very big club,” Messi said. “And when you lose two games in a row, the problems start and there is criticism from all sides. It’s a bit like what happens in the national team.

“A new coach [Luis Enrique] came in with new ideas and that takes time. We have more than enough great players to achieve important things this year, so I’m relaxed. This is just starting – there’s a long way to go in La Liga and in the Champions League.”