I’ve not been asked to fire anyone, says Bartomeu

The Barcelona president has moved to quash suggestions that the club’s star forward has called for the head of coach Luis Enrique

Josep Bartomeu has denied that Lionel Messi has told him to sack Barcelona coach Luis Enrique after Sunday’s clash against Atletico Madrid.

The Argentina star’s relationship with the head coach has soured after he was left on the bench against Real Sociedad, throwing the futures of both into doubt in what has been a turbulent week at Camp Nou.

According to Spain’s TV3 show ‘Esports Club’, Messi met with Bartomeu to demand Luis Enrique be ousted and replaced with former boss Frank Rijkaard – the man who gave him his debut in 2004.

The club president has since denied the claims, telling reporters in New York: “No one has asked me to fire anybody.

“I went to the dressing room, as always, but what TV3 are saying is false.

“I spoke with Leo, Adriano, Neymar, Luis Enrique…”

Barca beat Elche 5-0 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday to ease the pressure on Luis Enrique, with Messi scoring from the penalty spot in the rout.

Rumours have been rife in Catalan newspapers that the pair have had a number of confrontations, which neither have denied, while Goal understands Luis Enrique has told the club’s board that the situation is untenable.

The former midfielder was also whistled by sections of the home support against Elche.

Bartomeu is also under severe pressure after a week which has seen the club’s transfer ban upheld, the departures of Carles Puyol and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and the decision to bring forward presidential elections by a year.