Barcelona president denies Lionel Messi exit but admits "excessive" tensions

 
Joe Hall
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Current Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu (Source: Getty)
Barcelona will hold presidential elections at the end of the season in order to “reduce the tensions” surrounding the Camp Nou.
Current president Josep Maria Bartomeu announced that he will stand for re-election during a press conference today, and admitted the Catalan club have been suffering from internal divisions involving manager Luis Enrique and Lionel Messi.
Director of football Andoni Zubizarreta was fired on Monday after criticising Bartomeu following Barcelona’s defeat to Real Sociedad, while the iconic Carles Puyol walked out of the club soon after in solidarity. The following morning the front page in Catalan newspaper Sport read “Total Crisis!”.
Local reports also suggest a falling out has taken place between Messi, La Liga’s all-time record goalscorer, and new manager Enrique. The Argentinian started on the bench in Sunday’s loss and failed to appear at a public training session on Monday.
Bartomeu today said the club had lost confidence in Zubizarreta, and conceded that “the tensions in the last few weeks has been excessive”.
However, he went on to pour cold water on the idea that either manager or star player would be heading out of the Camp Nou exit door.
“Luis Enrique has a project and we have no doubt that he is the right person,” said Bartomeu, before adding; “Leo Messi is happy and he is looking forward to winning things with Barca. We are calm about him.”

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