Lionel Messi commits “forever” to Barcelona cause
Messi recently reiterated his desire to hang up his boots under a Barcelona jersey. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner insists he wants to stay at Barcelona “forever”. The coveted forward told reporters that he has no intention of leaving the Spanish club.
Injuries have plagued Messi this season. The 26-year-old Argentina international has been outshone by Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi has scored 16 goals in 21 appearances, whilst Ronaldo has 34 goals in 25 appearances.
Barcelona legend John Cruff hinted towards Messi’s exit during the summer. With the arrival of Neymar it was assumed that Barcelona had finally found a substitute for Messi, who has been benched for the remainder of 2013.
Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain will be ready to pay for Messi’s transfer fees in a heartbeat if Barcelona put him up for sale. However, the Barcelona bred player is confident about staying at the club till his retirement date.
“My intention is to stay at Barcelona forever,” Messi said in a ceremony where he picked up the 2012/13 European Golden Boot Award. “I appreciate it, if it is true what is said, that there are people interested. It makes you proud that people say these things, but my life is in Barcelona.”
Barcelona could succumb to poor form during the absence of Messi and a couple of other key players from the first-team. Messi believes Barcelona will contend for major silverware despite an injury crisis.
Barcelona are yet to show their best or even show consistency under their new manager Gerardo Martino. However, having qualified for the last 16 in the Champions League and leading the La Liga table with three points, it can’t be argued that Barcelona are in a bad position.
Barcelona’s injury list includes Messi, goalkeeper Victor Valdes, midfielder Xavi Hernandez, defender Gerard Pique, full back Jordi Alba and full back Dani Alves.
“We have started on the right path,” Messi said. After the holidays comes the most important part, when competitions are decided and a small detail can leave you out of one of them. We are preparing well for what is coming and to achieve important things at the end of the season.”
Messi also suggested that Barcelona will contend with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid for the Champions League title this year.
“Real Madrid and Bayern, although there are also many other teams,” Messi added. “The Champions League is very competitive, and difficult to win.”