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Keep calm on Messi deal, says Barca coach


Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona need to avoid a growing sense of hysteria felt by fans, fellow players and media over protracted negotiations to extend superstar striker Lionel Messi’s contract, his coach Luis Enrique said Friday.

With just 18 months left on the 29-year-old Argentine’s deal, Enrique insisted there is no need to panic.

“We have to remain calm,” Luis Enrique said, suggesting the club would not be rushed or panicked.

“We’re not getting involved in that,” the coach insisted amid speculation the player may eventually move on.

“The rhythm and the way this is worked out will be dictated by the club and Leo Messi himself.” 

“I don’t know about numbers, I know about football. We all want to enjoy watching Messi here for many more years, nothing else matters for me.”

Despite posting a record turnover of 679 million euros ($719 million) last season, a series of expensive new contracts for the likes of Neymar and Luis Suarez mean Barcelona are close to overstepping the 70 percent limit of turnover spent on salaries imposed by UEFA’s financial fair-play laws.

Meanwhile, Enrique hailed Suarez’s achievement of reaching 100 goals in 120 Barcelona appearances, a landmark reached in the 3-1 Copa del Rey win over Athletic Bilbao in midweek.

“100 goals in 120 games! My God! Incredible!”, said Enrique ahead of Saturday’s match against Las Palmas.

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