LONDON - Lionel Messi has ruled out ever moving to the Barclays Premier League.
The Barcelona star has set the world alight again this season, smashing 63 goals as the Spanish giants chase the treble. And Messi, 24, has revealed he will never leave the Catalan club.
‘I have never thought about life beyond Barcelona. My heart belongs to the club and I can never see the day arrive when I want to leave,’ he told The Sun.
‘It has always been my intention to stay here since the very first day I arrived and nothing has convinced me to change my mind.
‘I accept you never know what can happen in the future but if it’s my decision and my decision alone then I would be happy to finish my playing career at the club.’
Messi will be in London this week as Barcelona face Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final clash.
But the Argentine ruled out a more permanent move.
‘The Premier League is immensely exciting and when I get the opportunity I love to watch it on television. There is a great deal to admire about English football,’ he added.
‘It’s very competitive and played at a phenomenal speed. They play with their heart, with plenty of emotion, spirit and determination.
‘And the supporters are enthusiastic, passionate and very fair. I know from my experience of playing against English clubs how their supporters appreciate good football and talent.
‘English clubs are tough, strong and very physical but when the game comes to a end they are always humble, fair and decent even in defeat.
‘But I could never see the day arrive when I would play in England. It’s hard to look beyond my own club and it’s not something I have ever thought about or considered.’
Barcelona are favourites to reach the showpiece final in Munich on May 19 but Messi is taking nothing for granted.
‘There are no easy games when you reach the knockout stage.
‘Our opponents are there on merit and we do not take any threat likely. There is no room for complacency or presumption.
‘Chelsea are playing without expectations or pressure in some respects because everyone expects Barcelona to win.
‘But they have vast experience and we will treat them with the utmost respect. Games in the past have been very close, there was not much in them.’