Barcelona captaincy has changed Messi, says Bartomeu

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The Barcelona star has changed thanks to the captaincy, the club president said

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu believes Lionel Messi is "very happy" at the La Liga club, praising the star for changing after taking the captaincy.

Messi, 31, was named Barca skipper in August after Andres Iniesta's departure from Camp Nou.

Bartomeu said he had seen a change in the Argentina international, lauding the attacker for his leadership.

"Messi is very happy here. He is delighted and excited about continuing to triumph at Barcelona," he told Onda Cero on Monday.

"Messi has made a change, he has decided to take on the captaincy and assume that responsibility in the team."

Messi and his team-mates could be heading to the United States for a La Liga game against Girona early next year.

That decision has been criticised, but Bartomeu said his club were simply trying to grow the league.

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"La Liga proposed that we play a match abroad and it seemed a good idea. We have the obligation to promote the league," he said.

"You have to get closer to the fans and find new streams of income. Playing a match abroad would help us.

"If it can be played, we'll do it. The club captains have been informed."

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