Lionel Messi let loose on Atletico Madrid before following suit on the rumor mill.
The 27-year-old Ballon d’Or finalist said he isn’t going to Chelsea, Manchester City or any other team, nor did he try to get manager Luis Enrique fired.
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And after setting up a pair of goals and scoring the other in an emphatic 3-1 win over El Atleti, he didn’t mince his words. He also didn’t deny that he’d like to see Enrique out the door, but perhaps that ongoing story can wait for another day.
“I have no intentions of leaving for any team, not Chelsea nor Manchester City… I’m tired of all the things that people have been saying. I didn’t ask the club to fire anyone.”
“People make it out as if I run the club and that’s not how it is. I don’t ask anyone to make decisions.
“Everything that has been said is lies and I want people to know that. Everything that has been said is false. People say these things because they want to cause us harm. It hurts because it came from Barca people. We must be united.”
With the Ballon d’Or decided later today, another distraction will disappear fairly soon for the Barcelona superstar and life will return to as normal as it can for the biggest name on one of the world’s biggest teams.
Barca sits a point behind Real Madrid, which has played one less La Liga match than its rivals. While the Blaugrana doesn’t have the firepower to go blow-for-blow with Real — and have the obstacle of a transfer ban — they can point to a stingy defense that has surrendered a mere nine goals in 18 matches as a reason for hope.
And they now have a four-point lead on third-place Atletico Madrid.