Neither Messi nor Neymar will leave Barcelona: Bartomeu

Barcelona, Jan 12 (IANS) European champions FC Barcelona’s president Josep Bartomeu was on Tuesday delighted at his team’s star striker Lionel Messi winning the Ballon D’ Or for a historic fifth time and promised that neither the Argentine nor his team-mate and fellow award nominee Neymar will be leaving the club.

Messi won the footballer of the year award, given by global football’s governing body FIFA, for a record fifth time, ahead of Neymar who finished third in the voting, reports Xinhua.

Both Messi and Neymar have been linked with a move to England for the next season. With former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola thought to be in line to coach an English club next season, those rumours have been getting louder of late.

Nevertheless, Bartomeu insisted the duo will be staying in the club for the foreseeable future.

“Messi deserves everything, he is the greatest player in history, the numbers confirm that, but he is not going to stop now,” insisted the Barcelona president.

“There has never been a player like him in history and nobody is going to buy him,” he said.

Bartomeu indicated Messi was a player who had helped Barcelona publicise their name all over the world, explaining he had made the club, “universal”.

Neymar is now also an important part of that marketing and his form of late makes him a candidate for the 2016 Ballon D’ Or award, and also a target for wealthy English clubs.

“He will be at Barcelona for as long as possible. He feels loved her and nobody will take him away,” said the president, who added that Barcelona was a club that was “global, respected and also loved and with a mission to entertain”.

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