Lionel Messi will never leave Barcelona, according to former president Joan Laporta, who believes Manchester United target Neymar might be sold.
Messi – sidelined with a knee injury – has been linked with a move to the Premier League after a tax case in Spain.
The Argentina captain is reportedly tired of the ongoing investigation.
Barca team-mate Neymar has also been linked with a move to Manchester United, a rumour that has not subsided since the transfer window shut last month.
Laporta was asked about the pair’s future and the 53-year-old is convinced Messi will remain at Camp Nou but thinks Neymar might leave in order to balance the books.
“Messi will never leave Barca. It is part of our emblem and our heart,” Laporta said.
“I received many proposals when I was president. Notably Inter, who wanted to pay his release clause but I always refused.
“For Neymar, it’s different. The economic situation of the club is not good, but the current president, to balance the books must sell players or assets. And the best solution is to sell a great player.
“There is talk of a proposal for Man United. But all that, it is because of the mismanagement of the current leadership.”