Martino: Messi's future is at Barcelona

The Argentine has hit out at rumors over the forward's possible exit from the club and admits he "cannot be satisfied" with his first season in charge at Camp Nou.
Gerardo Martino insists Lionel Messi's future is at Barcelona despite rumors of a potential exit this summer.

The 26-year-old has reportedly reached an impasse in contract talks with the Blaugrana, prompting speculation that he could be temped to leave Camp Nou at the end of the season, with Paris Saint-Germain long touted as a possible destination.

Martino, however, has stressed that the Masia graduate will more than likely commit his future to the club.

"I talk to the players I talk to them regularly, but I've never had a special interview with one of them. It's something I've not had with Leo," he told a press conference. "Ninety-nine percent of the world is surprised when people talk about Messi's future. These are comments I don't even take into account.

"I don't think it affects anything, when a player plays like this he forgets contractual things and focuses on football. I cannot understand where issues over his future come from. He has been at Barca for 13 years and his future should be to continue at Barca."

Speculation has long circulated that Martino has decided to leave Barcelona at the end of the season, but while the Argentine refused to confirm anything on his own future, he admits he cannot consider the club's achievements this season to be satisfactory.

"I didn't say I've made a decision, I said that results do not change a contractual agreement. I have to talk and face up to everyone for recent results," he said. "I'm never satisfied with my work. When results don't come, nobody can be satisfied, and when a team like this doesn't get results you are more exposed.

"Not to have a chance in two competitions and to have only an outside one in the other means I cannot be satisfied with my work."

Martino did, however, point to a bright future at Camp Nou, pointing to the fact that several first-team stars are only now beginning to enter the prime of their careers as proof that a cycle at the club is not coming to an end.

"I think you have to analyse this team over the last five or six years," he added. "You have to look at what happened over the last three years, this team has always competed very well. Sometimes they have won, sometimes they have lost.

"When you talk about this Barcelona squad, age is a very important factor. As with any team there are those who are coming and going, but when you look at the ages of [Jordi] Alba, [Gerard] Pique, Andres [Iniesta], Leo, Neymar etc, they are guys with a lot of their career ahead of them."

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