Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu defiantly responds to Lionel Messi exit claim

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has insisted that Lionel Messi will not be leaving the club any time soon despite recent rumours that he could move on at the end of next season.

Reports from Spain have suggested the 33-year-old has grown disillusioned with life at the Nou Camp and could take advantage of a clause in his contract to depart next year.

Messi created two assists in his side's 4-1 win over Villarreal on Sunday, and speaking after the game to Movistar+ Bartomeu dismissed the stories about the Argentinean star.

"I'm not going to give details of the negotiations, but he has said many times that he wants to finish his career at Barcelona," Bartomeu said.

"Right now, we are focused on the competition and there are negotiations with lots of players. Messi wants to continue at Barca and he wants to end (his career) here. He has many years left and we're going to enjoy him for a long time."

Barcelona's victory moves them to within four points of league leaders Real Madrid with four games each left to play as the Catalan giants try to win their third La Liga title in a row.

All has not been well at the club recently, however, with pressure reportedly mounting on their manager Quique Setien after a poor run of form.

When he was asked about Messi's future recently, Setien said: “I am not going to speculate on this because I have not heard him say anything about it and it is not my task,” he said.

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“I see him well, Leo. The rest is speculation that I do not even enter into. That's what you, the press, are there for. I see him training well, and [nothing] more.”

Barca are next in action when they take on local rivals Espanyol on Wednesday before they face a trip to Valladolid on Saturday.

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