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Sell Lionel Messi? Impossible, says Barcelona president

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu believes Lionel Messi will remain a one-club man.

Over the last few months, and with presidential elections on the horizon at Barcelona, various candidates have been polling fans outside the Camp Nou ahead of games. Among the variety of questions asked, to their obvious surprise, has been whether they would consider selling Lionel Messi and, if so, for what price.

Such questions follow regular rounds of speculation over the last couple of years, particularly while the Argentine star suffered form and fitness problems last season, that clubs such as Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich were all ready and waiting to swoop, in what would promise to be the world's most expensive signing - with the Independent among those to report on the issue.

Needless to say, the Catalan club has always denied there's even a shred of truth to the speculation, even when it was suggested that Adidas, the personal sponsors of Messi, were prepared to back part of any such move, particularly to teams like Chelsea or Bayern Munich, for whom they also provide the kits and sportswear sponsorship.

In light of the ongoing speculation, not least because of these recent surveys outside the Camp Nou, the question once more reared its head, while Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu was interviewed by Milan based newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Impossible!" The blunt response of Bartomeu, when asked directly if he could foresee Barcelona ever letting go of their most prized asset, Lionel Messi. Indeed, the club president went on assert: "Whoever is saying that is doing so in an effort to unsettle him."

Furthermore, Bartomeu is in absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the player himself has no intention of leaving the club of his life, stressing: "Leo has grown up here at Barcelona and as such, he'll retire at Barcelona." Adding with assurance: "I firmly believe this is also his plan."

Lionel Messi will likely be blissfully ignorant of any such speculation, as he focuses on Sunday's Clasico encounter with Real Madrid, hoping he can help fire Barcelona four points clear at the top of La Liga, stealing an important march ahead of their arch-rivals.

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