Barcelona spokesman Josep Vives said he cannot imagine Lionel Messi leaving the Camp Nou after Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid to join Juventus earlier this month.
Ronaldo had a release clause worth €1 billion in his contract, but Madrid allowed him to join Juve for significantly less once he asked to leave to start a new challenge in his career.
Messi signed a new deal with Barca in November, with a release clause worth €700m, that ties him to the club through the 2020-21 season.
“I cannot imagine that situation in which Messi is not with us,” Vives said. “I am already getting nervous because there have been many days without football [games]. We do not imagine this situation here.”
Earlier this week, Marco Tronchetti Provera, the CEO of Pirelli, one of Inter Milan’s main sponsors, suggested that Inter’s owners would consider a move for Messi in response to Ronaldo’s arrival in Serie A.
But Inter vice president Javier Zanetti laughed off that suggestion while speaking to Fox Sports Argentina.
“It’s crazy,” Zanetti said. “It’s devoid of any truth that we’re going to ask for Messi.”
Vives was also questioned about signing Malcom from Bordeaux a day after Roma announced they had reached an agreement to sign him.
“We are very calm with this signing,” Vives said. “We have acted in the correct manner. There was agreement between all parties. We cannot feel guilty for having signed a player with his talent.”
ESPN FC Italy correspondent Ben Gladwell contributed to this report.