Bartomeu calls for "calm" over Messi contract negotiations

The Barça president hailed Lionel Messi as the "authentic leader" of the team and said his position at the club is "unquestionable", but urged for more tranquillity over the player's ongoing contract talks.

El presidente del FC Barcelona, Josep María Bartomeu, en el Hotel Palace, en Barcelona con motivo del Forum Europa Tribuna Cataluña, desayuno informativo.

FC Barcleona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, moved to calm fears over the slow progress of Lionel Messi’s contract negotiations with the club, stating that while the Argentinian’s renewal is only a matter of time, it something that requires “discretion”.

“I want to reassure everyone, when there's news we will announce it but Messi wants to stay here and we want him to stay, the situation is calm," said Bartomeu.

"I cannot explain the details, we’re in talks, but obviously we want the best player in the world to stay here. His family is happy here and he wants to continue, but with the tranquillity and discretion that the issue requires."

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and UD Las Palmas at Camp Nou

Gratacós controversy 

Bartomeu’s comments come a day after Barcelona sacked Pere Gratacós from his directorial role at the club after the executive suggested Leo Messi wouldn’t be as good as a player if it were not for his teammates.

Addressing the incident, Bartomeu reassured that Gratacós will “continue working at the club” in his capacity with La Masia academy, but said it had caused a controversy that was “difficult to understand”.

"We have talked to Pere Gratacós, he’s not leaving the club, he has a position as a representative of Barça in the federation, and he will continue his work in La Masía with the area of player training. The controversy is difficult for us to understand, but Pere Gratacós isn’t leaving," he concluded.