Bartomeu: I could not let Messi leave

LaLiga

FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu admits there was no chance that he would have allowed Lionel Messi to leave the club.

Messi looked poised to end his association with the LaLiga giants after handing in a transfer request upon their embarrassing 8-2 in the UEFA Champions League defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich.

However, the Bartoemue and the clubs stood firm against the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner and rendered his burofax null and void to the expiry of the clause that allows him to leave on a free transfer.

With his release clause set at €700-million, the only serious suitors capable of luring Messi away from the Blaugrana conceded that it would have been impossible and Messi reluctantly agreed to stay to avoid taking the battle to court.

"I won't get into any conflict with him. He's our captain and the leader of our team," Bartomeu told TV3.

"I couldn't let him leave the club, he is the best player of all time and the team needs him. Having Messi is a guarantee of success.

"We have seen him do his talking on the pitch and we have moved on from the saga. We should congratulate ourselves for getting Messi to stay with us and for how he has behaved in the last few days. The best player in the world should stay at our home."

Scroll through the gallery below to see Suarez, Messi and Coutinho returning to Barcelona training 

It's been suggested in Spanish media that Bartomeu will receive a vote of no confidence from the board ahead of the next presidential elections, which he seems unconcerned about.

"The board and I will keep working to ensure we have the most competitive team possible," he said. "We will speak again after validating the votes but right now no-one wants to quit.

"The club won’t stop and we will keep working, we have lots of issues to sort out."

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