• La Liga

Barca: We'll do the impossible to keep Messi

ESPN staff
December 13, 2013 « St-Pierre steps away: My life is a zoo | Chartbeat test »
Lionel Messi has reportedly fallen behind Neymar in the Barcelona salary scale © Getty Images
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Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has reacted to speculation of a surprise problem between the club and Lionel Messi by saying they will do everything "possible and impossible" to ensure that he stays.

A media storm blew up when Barca vice-president Javier Faus dismissed the idea of offering Messi a new contract at the moment, with his comments read by some as a slight on the player.

Talk of a pay rise had been provoked by reports that the huge signing-on fee apparently paid to Neymar means he has leapfrogged Messi in the Camp Nou salary scale.

The week also brought suggestions that some Barca directors were unhappy at Messi's father and agent Jorge looking to secure better terms for him, and suggestions the club could try and cash in on him to raise money for a remodelled Camp Nou home.

Meanwhile rumours that Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City could table huge offers to tempt Messi away spread again.

But speaking at the launch of Barca's new shirt sponsorship deal, Rosell said, in comments reported by the club's official website: "As long as I am president, we'll do everything possible - and the impossible - to keep Messi at the club.

"We will do it intelligently and it really would be very difficult for Messi to leave for another team - really impossible."

Messi is currently in Argentina, where he is recovering from the muscle injuries that have interrupted his season. It was already planned that Barca medical staff would fly out to be with him through the next stage of the process but - perhaps in reaction to this week's events - sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta will now also travel to South America after Monday's draw for the last 16 of the Champions League.

The change in plans was announced in a club statement on Thursday, which said: "So far, the treatment has been supervised by Dr Daniel Martínez and kinesiologist Luis Garcia, both of whom also work with the Argentina national squad."

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