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Jan 29, 2014

PSG chief denies reports of Messi move

FC Barcelona head coach, Gerardo Martino, has highlighted the importance of keeping Lionel Messi fit for the remainder of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi has categorically told L'Equipe there is no chance of Lionel Messi joining the Ligue 1 club, and also explained why they could not pursue their interest in Miralem Pjanic.

Lionel Messi consoles Lucas Moura after Barcelona's victory on away goals
Lionel

• Johnson: PSG need defenders

Reports in L'Equipe last weekend linked Messi, 26, with a move from Barcelona to the French capital. Though one of the few clubs capable of meeting the 250 million euro release clause in Messi's contract, Al Khelaifi stated emphatically the Argentina international will not be seen in a PSG shirt.  

"No, never," Al Khelafi said to L'Equipe, before adding the vast resources of club owners Qatari Sports Investments (QSI) were not infinite. "If we didn't have any limit, we'd bring in Messi. If Messi isn't coming to Paris, it's because some limits really exist."

The barriers to Pjanic's arrival at the Parc des Princes this winter were not financial, however. Al Khelaifi revealed that when PSG enquired about the Bosnia international, they met with stiff resistance from Pjanic's club, Roma.

"When we spoke to AS Roma, it became clear it would be difficult to get him during the January window,” Al Khelaifi said. “AS Roma are second in Serie A and challenging Juventus for the title. It was complicated for them to let one of their most important players go in the middle of the season.

“The fans would have gone mad. That's why that deal was complicated for us: finding a good player who is eligible for the Champions League really reduces the choice."

PSG are expected to close the deal for one such player, Yohan Cabaye, on Wednesday. A press conference scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CET during which the France midfielder is expected to be presented to the media following his 20 million euro move from Newcastle United.

His arrival threatens the place of international colleague Blaise Matuidi in Laurent Blanc's starting lineup. The former Saint-Etienne man, 26, is out of contract in June, and has been linked most recently with Manchester City. 

Though he has been careful to maintain good relations with rival clubs, Al Khelaifi warned City and others that PSG's massive resources could be used effectively against any club should they disrespect the French side.

"They know that if they touch any one of our players, we're going to be opposed to them. And we'll also go and contact their players. We respect all clubs. But if a club tries to recruit one of our players, they have to accept the consequences of that. And what I say is not only aimed at Manchester City who -- as far as I know -- have not contacted Matuidi."

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