Lionel Messi reps deny he said he wants to stay at Barcelona in fake interview

BILBAO, SPAIN - JANUARY 05: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona reacts during the Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on January 5, 2017 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

When the British online magazine called Coach got an exclusive interview with Lionel Messi, it was a pretty big “get” for the small publication. Messi offered some new information too, such as his intention to stay with Barcelona, which has been source of doubt.

But as it turns out, Messi never said any such thing because the interview was made up.

“This interview doesn’t exist; it is a lie,” Messi’s father reportedly told Mundo Deportivo. Meanwhile, Goal reported they also have confirmed with Messi’s family that he never spoke to Coach.

By Wednesday, Coach removed the interview from their website and replaced it with this message: “It has come to our attention that the authenticity of this interview has been questioned. We have removed the interview while we investigate.”

In the disputed interview, Messi was supposedly asked about playing in the Premier League and responded, “I have always said that Barcelona has given me everything and I am here for as long as they want me to be.”

That would’ve been significant because Messi has publicly remained mum about his contract, even as Barcelona has very publicly made it clear they want to keep him. Messi’s current contract expires in 2018.

Barcelona removed one executive from his main job after he suggested Messi was only as good as his teammates made him, showing just how serious the negotiations are. Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has also said the club is prepared to make Messi the world’s best-paid player.

It is to be expected that Messi’s camp would come out and dispute any suspected false interview with the player. But the fact that the discredited interview also mentions Messi wanting to stay with Barcelona is just more fodder in the “will he or won’t he” narrative of Messi re-signing.