'Barcelona will continue to win titles WITHOUT Messi,' says Enrique

‘Barcelona will continue to win titles WITHOUT Messi’: Former boss Luis Enrique adamant Catalan club will survive Argentine star’s exit… as Spain manager suggests six-time Ballon d’Or winner leaves ‘sooner or later’ despite sensational u-turn this week

  • Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique gave his thoughts on Lionel Messi’s situation
  • Messi sat down with Goal on Friday to reveal his u-turn to remain at the club
  • He had been pushing to go, sending the club a fax informing them of his choice
  • Enrique, now Spain boss, insisted Barcelona will still win titles without Messi 

Luis Enrique has insisted Barcelona ‘will continue to win titles’ without Lionel Messi as he waded into the saga surrounding the Argentine. 

Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, had been at war with the club as he attempted to push through a move to Manchester City to secure a reunion with Pep Guardiola. 

But with LaLiga and club president sticking to the idea Messi had no legal ground to stand on due to the €700million (£630m) release clause in his contract, the 33-year-old begrudgingly confirmed he will now remain at the club. 

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique (left) has backed his old side to continue to be a success even when Lionel Messi (right) departs, despite the player’s dramatic u-turn this week

Financial demands made the move ‘impossible’ and so Messi, who has a year left on his current deal, was left with no choice but to accept his fate at the Nou Camp, for another 12 months at least.

The future of Messi captured the imagination of fans and media across the world and Enrique, who managed Barcelona between 2014 and 2017, guiding them to their last Champions League triumph in 2015, was no exception.

‘I think the clubs are above all people, players and presidents. Barcelona, ​​founded in 1899, is one of the best in the world. They have always won titles,’ Enrique said ahead of Spain’s meeting with Ukraine.

The superstar’s bombshell U-turn was officially announced in an interview on Friday evening

‘It is evident that there has been a wonderful relationship. Leo has made Barca grow exponentially but I would have liked it if a much more friendly agreement had been reached.

‘Sooner or later, Messi will stop playing at Barca. Barcelona will continue to win titles without Messi and Messi will continue to be a wonderful footballer.’

Enrique oversaw an incredible period in the club’s history with the famous MSN frontline of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. 

The 2015 treble under Enrique was only the second time in the club’s history that they had won it and Messi and his team-mates have found life difficult, particularly in the Champions League, since he left. 

Messi had simply had enough of his current situation after the club’s 8-2 humiliation to Bayern Munich in the Champions League last month. 

Messi wanted to avoid a legal battle and so had no option but to remain for 2020-21 season

Jorge Messi had refuted claims from Barca that his son has a £630m release clause in his deal

And after sending a burofax to the club’s president Josep Bartomeu, informing him of his desire to walk away from his contract for free, the club played hard-ball and have come out on top despite a dramatic back-and-forth on Friday.

Messi appeared to be willing to fight on Friday when his father Jorge issued a statement that appeared to quote directly from his contract stating: ‘The release clause will not apply after the end of the 2019-20 season.’

The statement criticised LaLiga for supporting Barcelona’s right to demand £630m for his sale and condemned the Spanish league’s ‘obvious lack of impartiality’.

But that was the last shot fired before the white flag was raised. 

While Messi will now be part of the side used by Ronald Koeman for his first season in charge, Enrique is of the belief that Messi’s time at Barcelona is coming to an end.

And yet he believes the club will remain healthy and competitive across all competitions even when the Argentine has departed.  

Manchester City’s hopes of snapping up Messi in a sensational swoop have now been ended

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