Barcelona’s Luis Enrique: No plan for Messi to leave Camp Nou

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique says it is unthinkable that club legend Lionel Messi could move elsewhere.

The 27-year-old, Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer, is under contract until June 2018 but his future has been the subject of much speculation following a rumored falling out with Enrique. And the four-time winner of the world player of the year award has been linked with possible moves to Premier League sides Chelsea and Manchester City.

Earlier this week he was quoted as saying: "I don’t know where I’ll be next year. I’ve always said I want to end my career at Barcelona but nobody knows what the future holds."

However, Enrique told the Spanish media on Wednesday that he did not think Messi would be going anywhere.

"The thought of having a team without Messi is not even something we contemplate," he said. "I don’t know what the future holds for us but we all think that Messi will be at Barca in the next few years and that is what all the Cules (Barca fans) want."

Messi was rumored to be unhappy after he started a crucial 1-0 loss to Real Sociedad on the bench but Barca have bounced back with a 5-0 Copa del Rey thrashing of Elche and a more significant 3-1 victory over Atletico Madrid on Sunday night.

Enrique said: "We are running away from controversies and we are looking to find the best atmosphere possible. The changing room is united. This is what we are looking for, even though we know that things on the outside can change within five seconds."

HEAR US OUT

Barcelona is back in action on Thursday night when the club faces Elche in the second leg of a last-16 Copa del Rey tie, having won the first leg 5-0. 

Several fringe players will feature as Luis Enrique rotates his squad with progress all but assured, while Xavi (hamstring) and Neymar (ankle) won’t be risked.