Barcelona coach Quique Setien gave little away about Lionel Messi’s future on Saturday in his pre-match press conference ahead of the team’s La Liga match with Villarreal.
Setien was asked about the report and offered his thoughts on the Argentina international and his future at the Camp Nou.
“I’m not going to speculate because I haven’t heard Messi talking about this news. He hasn’t said anything. I don’t want to speculate it’s not my job.
“I see Leo really well, all the rest is just speculation. I don’t want to comment, that’s your task not mine. He’s training really well. We talk about what we need to talk about and that’s it, no more.”
Messi is in the squad to face Villarreal on Sunday at the Estadio de la Cerámica and is expected to lead his side out again. The team is under pressure to get a result after drawing three of their last four matches.
Setien Not Feeling the Pressure at Barcelona
Barcelona’s recent results mean there is scrutiny on Setien ahead of Sunday’s match. The team resumed their league campaign in June with a two-point lead at the top but could be seven points behind at kick-off if Real Madrid beat Athletic earlier in the day.
There has been speculation Barcelona could sack Setien, who only arrived at the club in January, but the 61-year-old seemed unruffled by talk about his future.
“I don’t want to waste a single minute thinking about what will happen if we don’t win. I am focused on trying to win and play at a great level like we played the last two games. We cannot control this situation. This is the circus in which we are involved and we accept it.”
Setien is contracted to the club until the end of June 2022. Club legend Xavi has said his staff are preparing to move to the Camp Nou and it remains his “biggest hope” to manage the club where he enjoyed so much success as a player.
Villarreal up Next for Messi and Barcelona
Barcelona face a tough test on Sunday against a Villarreal side that has won five and drawn once in six games since La Liga resumed. Their improved form has put them in sight of qualification for a Champions League place, meaning they will not lack for motivation against Barcelona.
Setien is aware of the threat his team will face on Sunday and praised Javier Calleja’s side ahead of the match.
“I think they are the best or one of the best teams since the return from lockdown. They are doing a really good job. there’s a lot of talent, they defend really well and it’ll be really tough. They are at home and in great shape.”
Barcelona beat Villarreal 2-1 at the Camp Nou earlier in the summer but were held to a dramatic 4-4 draw last season at the Estadio de la Ceramica in La Liga.