Lionel Messi rubbishes Ronaldinho bail money and Barcelona exit rumours as ‘lies’ and ‘fake news’

Tom Kershaw
Lionel Messi reacts to Barcelona's El Clasico defeat: EPA

Lionel Messi has dismissed rumours of him wanting to leave Barcelona as “fake news”.

The Argentine had recently been linked with a move to Inter Milan as well as his childhood club Newell’s Old Boys, while Manchester City was touted as a possible destination for the Argentine earlier in the season after a series of high-profile disagreements with members of Barcelona’s hierarchy.

“Lie no 1” and “Lie no 2” he wrote over screenshots of news reports before adding: “What they said about Newell’s Old Boys a few weeks ago is also false, thank God no one believed them...”

Six Barcelona board directors resigned on Thursday, criticising Josep Maria Bartomeu’s handling of a social media scandal where a company was allegedly paid to slander certain members of the team as well as public disagreements over the financial implications of the coronavirus crisis.

After the first-team squad agreed a 70 per cent pay cut, Messi publicly questioned the board’s urgency to put pressure on the players, despite the fact that negotiations were already ongoing.

“It never ceases to amaze us that from within the club there were those who tried to put us under the magnifying glass, adding pressure for us to do what we were always going to do anyway,” he wrote.

The 32-year-old, who also rubbished speculation he had paid Ronaldinho’s bail money in Paraguay after his former teammate was arrested for entering the country with a fake passport, has donated €1m to hospitals in Catalonia and Argentina to help the battle against the coronavirus.