Barcelona are working to convince captain, Lionel Messi, to stay at the club after the 33-year-old’s shock request to leave.
Messi surprised Barcelona on Tuesday night, when he asked for his contract, which has a year still to run, to be terminated under an end-of-season release clause with immediate effects.
His intention came after Ronald Koeman’s appointment as Quique Setien’s successor last week, following a disappointing season which ended with an 8-2 Champions League quarter-final defeat to Bayern Munich.
However, speaking as the club unveiled €31m new signing, Francisco Trincao, on Wednesday, sporting director Ramon Planes told reporters that Barcelona are putting every effort into ensuring that the relationship between the club and Messi will continue.
Planes said: “This is evidently the important news.
“As we have said many times, as Koeman and the president have said and my position as technical secretary, we count on Messi for the future, just as we count on Trincao as a talent of the future, and we have heard that he’ll play alongside the greatest player in the history, the greatest player in the world.
“These things happen, and we hope we’ll come back stronger from the defeat at the end of last season.
“What has happened has happened, and our idea is to build a team around the most important player in the world.
“We aren’t contemplating any departure because what we want is for Messi to stay.
“We only have enormous respect for Leo Messi.
“Barca and Leo are like a marriage, where both have given so much to each other and have brought so much joy to the fans.
“I think the future is positive. I’m an optimist.
“We’re putting every effort into ensuring that the relationship between Barca and Messi will continue. We are working internally to convince Leo.”