Madrid: Barcelona striker Lionel Messi Friday said he would never leave the famed football club just for money.
Speaking to the newspaper El Mundo Deportivo, Messi began by denying rumours that he and striker David Villa had a poor relationship.
The story had been first published in Valencia-based newspaper Superdeporte and had been laughed away Thursday by Barca President Sandro Rosell. Messi also assured that the story was false.
He then spoke about his future at Barcelona, where he has spent his entire career.
"I would never leave Barca for money, I would only go in the case that the club didn`t want me any more, or of my performance was not the same that it had been, or if people began to doubt me. But I don`t see myself elsewhere for any other reason," said the striker.
Messi`s hat-trick away to Viktoria Plzen in midweek took the 24-year-old past 200 goals for the club. He has scored hat-tricks in his last two matches, but admits that it will be difficult to make it three out of three when his side visits Athletic Club Bilbao Sunday night.
"It is always hard to score three goals and even more so in two consecutive games. I hope we can win, as that is the most important thing, because it is a very difficult ground and with a team, whose coach (Marcelo Bielsa) studies their rivals very well. I have never worked with Bielsa as a coach, but he is someone I admire a lot for what he has done in Argentina, Chile and now in Bilbao. I would have liked to have worked with him," admitted Messi.
Finally Messi discussed Real Madrid, who are Barcelona`s main rivals in the race for the Primera Liga and possibly the Champions League title.
"They are a stronger team this year and they have improved. When a side buys players it is to make them stronger than they were previously. We will see how much they have improved when we play each other, then we will know what we have to do to beat them," said Messi.
The "Classico" between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will be played Saturday, Dec 10.