Liga - Barca: Tata going nowhere, Messi talks ongoing

Barcelona have rejected suggestions Tata Martino has said he will leave the club at the end of the season and confirmed the club’s intention to renew the contract of Lionel Messi.

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Liga - Barca: Tata going nowhere, Messi talks ongoing
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Barcelona's Leo Messi (R) walks past his coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino after being replaced during their Spanish First Division match against Almeria (Reuters)

Reports from Spain claimed Martino had informed sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and president Josep Maria Bartomeu that he wanted to break his two-year contract after only a year at Camp Nou.

But speaking at a press conference regarding the redevelopment of Camp Nou, a Barca spokesman insisted Martino had revealed no such decision.

“We categorically deny that Tata or his coaching staff have announced an intention to leave the club,” Manel Arroyo, the vice president of communications, said.

“We’ve talked to him and he’s focused on the objectives of the team and the planning for the challenges of next season.

“There is a clause in Martino’s contract that allows either side to break the contract,” Arroyo confirmed.

Arroyo also said that Messi, who became the club’s all-time leading scorer with a hat-trick against Osasuna on Sunday, continues to talk with La Blaugrana about renewing his terms.

“Leo has said in his own words that he wants to retire at Barca,” Arroyo said.

“As we have every other time, we’ll make every effort to help Leo complete his career at Barca.

“In fact, at the [board meeting] we welcomed the new record set as top scorer and reinforced our commitment to ensure Leo’s continuity.

“If at 26 he has surpassed Paulino Alcantara, we cannot imagine where it will end.”

The cost to Barcelona of renewing Lionel Messi’s contract has been put at €250m by reports from Spain.

AS claims that Messi’s camp is pushing for a salary of €25m on a five-year deal to make Messi the highest-paid player in the world.

Barca and Messi are currently discussing a seventh contract renewal in nine years and are said by AS to be far apart on the numbers.

AS also suggests Messi was made offers last summer by other clubs, while the arrival of Neymar and his complicated contractual arrangement is what has spurred the Messi camp to push for a sharp increase in salary.

Arroyo declined to comment on when the deal would be signed.

“I refer you to the statement of president Bartomeu,” Arroyo replied.

“When he took over the job of speaking with Messi and [his father and agent] Jorge Messi, he wanted to talk unhurried and with discretion. And that’s what he’s doing.

“It doesn’t do anyone any favours to talk about it now.”

Read the original article on Football Espana - The ultimate website for English-speaking fans of Spanish football

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