Quique Setien has expressed his belief that Lionel Messi and Barcelona “will always be united”, while dismissing rumours of a potential move to Inter for the Argentine superstar.
Messi continues to set unprecedented standards of excellence at Camp Nou at the age of 32, and has shown no sign of slowing down as he approaches the latter stages of his illustrious career.
The diminutive magician has contributed 24 goals and 16 assists to Barca’s cause in 31 outings across all competitions this season, helping them return to the Liga summit while also reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Barca boss told Gazzetta dello Sport:
“He will leave Barcelona for free? No, it won’t happen. Messi and Barcelona will always be united. It’s just like that. Leo has been at Barca for 20 years and nobody could explain a breakdown situation.”
Setien also weighed in on speculation linking Barca with Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, a player he coached for a brief spell while in charge of Real Betis.
“I was with him for a year and it was enough to see that he was a great player, of an extraordinary level, he had enormous potential and he showed it very quickly,” he added on Ruiz.
“He was comfortable with me because I put him in a football situation that did him good.”