Man City? I'd rather stay at Barcelona for the rest of my career, says Messi
05 March 2009 01:47
Barcelona ace Lionel Messi has reiterated his desire to remain at the Nou Camp for the rest of his career amid increasing speculation about his future.
Following up on their ill-fated pursuit of Kaka, Manchester City
have been linked with an audacious move for Messi and reports suggest that the Premier League side are preparing a £100million bid for the Argentina international.
But Messi, who started out in Barca's youth team nine years ago, insists he has no wish to leave the Catalan giants.
'If it were up to me, I would stay at Barcelona until I finish my career,' he told Portuguese newspaper Publico. 'I will stay as long as they want me and no club can persuade me to do the opposite.'
Messi, who is close to notching 30 goals for the campaign in all competitions, is enjoying arguably his best season and if he continues in this vein he could finally lift the FIFA World Player of the Year award after finishing as runner-up the past two years.
However, the 21-year-old claims that is not at the forefront of his thoughts.
'I never think about personal recognition,' he said. 'For me, it is more important to think about Barca, to win titles.
'It would be good, but I'm not obsessed about it. I only want to be fit, do my job in the best possible way.
'I am lucky, I live by my passion and there are a lot of people who work, doing what they don't like and are badly paid for that.
'Every day I feel thankful for the luck that I have and for the opportunity to play with the the team-mates I have at Barca and in the international side.'
Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were neck and neck for much of running for the FIFA accolade but the Manchester United player edged it after firing his side to the Champions League and Premier League titles, while Barca ended the season empty-handed yet again.
'Of course it doesn't bother me at all that I didn't win (the player of the year award) this year,' he added. 'I've always said he was a brilliant player.
'His instincts are out of this world. Until you see him on the pitch, you don't realise what a physical presence he has.
'It is good to be recognised but it will depend on the titles Barca wins. Cristiano won the Champions League and the English league last season and that's why he deserved to be recognised.'