Barcelona technical director Robert Fernandez has no concerns over Lionel Messi’s future at the club following a torrid month for their prized asset.
Messi abruptly announced his retirement from international football after Argentina lost the final of the Copa America Centenario on penalties against Chile – a third consecutive final defeat in major tournaments for La Albiceleste.
The 29-year-old was then given a €2million fine and a prison sentence of 21 months after a Spanish court ruled he had evaded tax to the tune of €4.1m, though he will be able to serve the jail term on probation as his offence was non-violent and under two years in length.
La Liga president Javier Tebas expressed fears Messi could seek to leave Spain’s top flight as a result of his conviction, which he is expected to appeal in the Supreme Court, but Fernandez insists he and his colleagues at Camp Nou are relaxed over the superstar forward’s status.
“At Barca there is no worry about Messi,” he said. “We want him back training now.
“I didn’t talk with Messi yet because he is on holiday and he has to rest.”
Fernandez was speaking at a news conference alongside Lucas Digne, the full-back who Barcelona signed from Paris Saint-Germain for an initial fee of €16.5m on Wednesday.
“It’s a great honour to be here, this is the best club in the world and I’m so proud,” said the France international, who spent last season on loan at Roma. “This is the start of a great adventure.
“In all great clubs there are great players. Now I’ve got more experience, I’m 22 and come from a great season in Roma. I’m so motivated for play with the great players of Barcelona.
“That Barcelona wanted to sign me is enormous. I want to improve every day to get the best from myself.
“I’m a full-back that likes to go forward, but in modern football you got to defend too.”
Digne is full of admiration for the player with whom he faces a considerable battle in order to gain a spot in the first team.
“I have seen many Barcelona matches and I like Jordi Alba, because he is a modern full-back that goes forward.” he added.