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Barcelona Boss Opens Up On Messi Exit Rumour



Lionel  Messi has spent the last 16 years of his illustrious career at Camp Nou, but there is a clause in his current contract which permits him to leave at the end of any season should he choose to do so.

A number of off-field issues have overshadowed Barca's latest campaign, with a public spat between Messi and sporting director Eric Abidal over Ernesto Valverde's sacking in January marking the lowest point for the club.

At the moment, it has been reported that the highly prized asset is ready to call time on a historic spell in Catalonia when the transfer market reopens due to all the controversy, with Inter mooted as a possible next destination.

However, Quique Setien has expressed his belief that Lionel Messi and Barcelona "will always be united", while dismissing rumours of a potential move to Inter for the Argentine superstar.

Meanwhile, Messi has continued to set unprecedented standards of excellence at Camp Nou at the age of 32, and has shown no sign of slowing down as he approaches the latter stages of his illustrious career.

The talented Argentinian has contributed 24 goals and 16 assists to Barca's cause in 31 outings across all competitions this season, helping them return to the Liga summit while also reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.

But the Barcelona boss, who succeeded Valverde at the start of the year, has rejected any notion of Messi moving onto pastures new before he hangs up his boots.

The boss also weighed in on speculation linking Barca with Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, a player he coached for a brief spell while in charge of Real Betis.

"I was with him for a year and it was enough to see that he was a great player, of an extraordinary level, he had enormous potential and he showed it very quickly," he added on Ruiz.

"He was comfortable with me because I put him in a football situation that did him good."

"He will leave Barcelona for free? No, it won't happen. Messi and Barcelona will always be united. It's just like that. Leo has been at Barca for 20 years and nobody could explain a breakdown situation," Setien told Gazzetta dello Sport.

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