Messi labels Barcelona social media controversy 'strange'

Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne was unwilling to compare Lionel Messi to Diego Maradona.

Lionel Messi insisted he was still in love with Barcelona, although the star admitted the recent social media controversy at the club was "strange".

Messi is enjoying another fine season with the LaLiga giants, who are a point adrift of rivals and leaders Real Madrid.

Contracted at Camp Nou until next year, Messi said he was happy in Barcelona, where he has spent his entire professional career.

"I love Barcelona although I miss Rosario very much. This is my house, I was here longer than in Argentina," he told Mundo Deportivo. 

"I love Barcelona, the place where I live, Castelldefels, and I live a life that I like very much."

However, it has been a tumultuous period for Barcelona, who sacked Ernesto Valverde in January and have also endured off-field problems.

Barca earlier this week denied allegations made by Spanish radio network Cadena SER that they hired a company to damage the image of people associated with the club, including Messi, by spreading negative messages on social media platforms.

Messi said: "I really find it strange that something like this has happened, but they also said that there would be evidence.

"We will have to wait to see if it is true or not. We cannot say much and we will wait to see what happens with all of this.

"I really thought it was a strange subject."

Messi was also involved in a public row with Barcelona sporting director Eric Abidal earlier this month.