Messi casts new doubts about his future at Barcelona

 

A day after denying rumors he is considering leaving Barcelona, Lionel Messi cast new doubts about his future at the club on Monday.

Messi said at the awards ceremony for the FIFA BAllon d’Or that he doesn’t know whether he’ll be back at Barcelona next season. He made the comment after being asked whether he’d consider returning to his boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys at some point.

Messi said in Spanish that ”I am not sure if I will go back to Newell’s Old Boys one day,” adding that ”I am not sure where I will be next year. I have always said I want to end my career at Barcelona but as Cristiano (Ronaldo) said: `Only God knows the future.’ Especially in football where things can change overnight.”

On Sunday, Messi told Barcelona’s in-house TV channel that he had no intention of leaving and called transfer rumors "all lies."

Messi specifically addressed reports linking him with Chelsea and Manchester City, even going as far as to say: "I have no intention of leaving anywhere."

Ronaldo, sitting alongside Messi and Manuel Neuer at a question-and-answer session for the three nominees, was equally noncommittal when asked about his Real Madrid future. Spanish football expert Graham Hunter says he cannot see Messi leaving Barcelona and believes the latest comments are likely part of a ploy to gain more influence at the club.

"He in is in the middle of the power play at the moment; he is not completely happy with the team’s level of competitiveness and he has some difficulties with the man-management style of (Barcelona head coach) Luis Enrique," Hunter told Sky Sports News HQ. "He is showing he is a mature player now and all he has to do is cough, nudge and hint and things happen. I don’t believe that he wants to leave; I do believe he wants to influence the club in how it’s run to make it more competitive."

Speaking after scoring in a 3-1 defeat of La Liga champions Atletico Madrid on Sunday night, Messi told Barca TV: "I never demanded anything to stay, as I have no intention of leaving. It is not good to look for rivalry between Luis Enrique and me, because there is none."

He added: "We must be more united than ever. They should not throw sh*t at us. We just want to achieve things for the club. It is said that my father spoke with Man City, with Chelsea. It’s all lies. It’s all lies."

Sky Sports and Goal.com contributed to this report.