Lionel Messi hits out at media lies
Lionel Messi has reacted to continuing speculation over his future at Barcelona by saying that "almost" all the stories which have emerged recently are false.
Messi's current contract ends in June 2018 and contains a release clause of 250 million euros. Talks on an improved deal have been ongoing since last autumn, and have been accompanied by regular leaks to and spin in the Catalan and Spanish sports press.
Recent days have seen a cranking up of the rumours in both Barcelona and Madrid, with a report widely circulated that his father Jorge Messi had demanded Barca both sign Manchester City attacker Sergio Aguero and renew the contract of current reserve goalkeeper Jose Pinto before his son would sign any new contract with the club.
In a sensational story on Thursday morning Madrid-based AS claimed that Barca's board have seriously considered selling the four time Ballon D'Or winner after the summer's World Cup for 250 million euros, with a senior club figure even emailing a suggestion to Messi Snr that his son could receive 10 percent of a transfer fee if a move was accepted.
The 26-year-old told reporters at a commercial event on Thursday afternoon that most of what was published about him was not to be believed.
"Many things have come out during the year," Messi said. "Crazy stuff has come out, almost all of it lies. I am fine."
Messi Snr had earlier told Antoni Bassas of Catalan outlet ARA that this week's meeting with Barca's directors had been about purely financial matters, with no demands made about what players the club should or should not sign.
Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have all been mentioned in speculation as possible destinations for Messi should he leave the Camp Nou club, however he himself has always maintained he has no intention of leaving.