World’s greatest is happy at Barcelona.
Lionel Messi has distanced himself from speculation that he is line for a dramtic move to Barcelona’s arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Reports this week linked the two-time Ballon d’Or winner, who is widely regarded as the finest footballer on the planet, with a sensational move to Jose Mourinho’s Madrid.
The clubs have one of the fiercest rivalries in world football but a number of high-profile players have moved directly between them in the past.
In 2000 Portuguese star Luis Figo moved from the Nou Camp to Real and famously had a pig’s head thrown at him by the Barca faithful when the clubs next met.
More recently, Argentine Javier Saviola moved directly from Barca to the Santiago Bernabeu, while Luis Enrique and Michael Laudrup both stunned Spain with transfers between the giants in the mid-1990s.
But Messi dismissed speculation that he was about to create a storm with a similar switch.
“I do not think about joining Madrid. Barcelona are my home and I would be delighted to play there until I retire. I hope that is what happens,” he told reporters after his star-studded charity team, including Robino and Dani Alves, drew 6-6 with a Rest of the World XI.
The Argentina also gave his opinion on Barca’s managerial changes this summer.
“We are very happy that Tito [Vilanova] is Guardiola’s replacement,” said the 24-year-old. “He is someone we know, he works the same way that Guardiola did.”