First, Barcelona had to go and disrupt the storyline of “Barca are over (for real this time!)” by beating Atletico 3–1 with goals from Neymar, Lionel Messi AND Luis Suarez. Then, after the match, Messi ruined the most pervasive story of the January transfer window by going on Barca TV and stating unequivocally that everything printed about him simultaneously trying to leave the club and run it as an iron-fisted dictator is total bullshit.
“I never asked for them [the Barca board] to get rid of the coach [Luis Enrique] or anybody,” Messi said. “I would never do that. … They try to make out that I run the club, but I’m just another player in the squad, like all my teammates. I don’t make decisions — I don’t want to make decisions. I don’t demand anything for me to stay because I have no intention of leaving, anyway.”
He even specifically addressed the widely reported rumor that he was slyly showing interest in Man City and Chelsea by following their official Instagram accounts.
“I’ve heard stories about Chelsea or City — that’s all lies,” he added.
So now that Messi has completely ruined the last three weeks of this transfer window for a number of publications, expect even more ridiculous attempts to keep this nonsense going. Stories about how Messi was secretly blinking a “come and get me plea” to Bayern Munich during this interview or that he considers January 11 to be opposite day and nothing he said here was meant to be taken at face value. After all, rumor mongers have families to feed, too.