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Messi hints at Barcelona exit

Messi hints at Barcelona exit

Posted by Juan Gavasa on November 18, 2014

The Argentina captain Lionel Messi has given the strongest hint yet he could consider leaving Barcelona, saying “things can change a lot in soccer ” before appearing to contradict himself by adding “if it was up to me I would stay forever”.

The four-times world player of the year, who joined Barça’s academy at the age of 13, has not been at his scintillating best over the past 18 months and has also had problems with the Spanish tax authorities.

Now 27, Messi would appear to have at least five years left at the top of the game and if the right offer was made, likely to be a world record fee in excess of 100 million euros (£80m), it is not inconceivable he could quit Barça.

Probed about his future plans, Messi told Olé newspaper he was living “in the present” and was focusing on winning titles with Barcelona after failure to secure major silverware in 2013-14.

“After that we’ll see,” he said, when asked if he was still planning to stay at Barça for his entire professional career. “Things can change a lot in soccer. While I have always said I would like to stay there [at Barça] forever, sometimes things do not work out the way you would like.”

Quizzed about whether he would choose to leave or whether it would happen because of someone else’s decision, Messi added: “Yes, I have said it many times. If it was up to me I would stay forever. But as I just said, sometimes not everything happens in the way you would like. The more so in football, which is so volatile and where so many things happen. It’s complicated, the more so during the moments like those Barcelona are experiencing right now.”

Barcelona are second in La Liga, two points behind Real Madrid after 11 matches, and have qualified for the Champions League knockout stages.

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