Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has insisted he has no doubts over Lionel Messi’s future at the club and believes the striker’s recent comments have been misinterpreted.
It came after the club recently confirmed that the 32-year-old has a clause in his contract that allows to decide whether he wants to leave the Camp Nou for free at the end of every season.
Although the interview raised questions over Messi’s current relationship with the club, Valverde doesn’t believe there is anything to be concerned about.
“I didn’t want to read it. I know what Leo has to say,” Valverde said (via Goal ) when asked if superstar’s comments implied a rift with the club.
“He expresses himself naturally and then people tend to misinterpret what he has said.
“Everything he says, people try to squeeze out every sub-meaning from his words. I think he was just trying to express things naturally, I don’t think we need to worry.
“I don’t think there are any doubts regarding his future,” he continued.
“It’s the club that decides which players it’s going to keep or not, but I don’t think there are any concerns, certainly I don’t have any concerns about it.
Messi is yet to feature for Barcelona this season after missing the club’s first three matches with a calf injury.
Despite hopes that he would be able to return after the international break, Valverde confirmed that Barca’s all-time record goalscorer is set to miss Saturday’s meeting with Valencia and is also a doubt for the Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund.
“The scar opened a little bit, so it’s told us that we need to exercise a little bit of caution,” Valverde said. “I don’t think it’s long that he’ll be back again. But Tuesday, I don’t know, probably later.
“Of course he’s a very important player for us, I can’t deny that, but there has been other times when he hasn’t played and we’ve got through games very well.
“He’s the best player in the world so we want him back as soon as possible, but we want him to come back at full fitness, not for him to come back and then take things a step even further back.
Valverde, who has seen his side win just one of their opening three games without their captain, added: “Missing Messi is always going to be noted, but it also means possibilities for other players to up their game. We saw that against Real Betis, certainly.
“Knowing how difficult it is to replace Messi, we need the guarantee that the team is still able to compete in his absence.”