Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has described reports of a bust-up with Lionel Messi as “inaccurate and ill-intentioned” and said he has the backing of all the players in his squad.
Talk has been rife of disagreements and heated exchanges between Messi and Enrqiue while rumours of a move to Chelsea have grown, with Catalan radio saying the London club has contacted the players’ father and agent Jorge.
“I have the same relationship with all the players since the start of the season. Obviously we know each other better now but there is no change in the relationship,” Enrique said at the news conference ahead of Thursday’s Copa del Rey last 16 clash with Elche.
“I feel I have the support of the club and the players. I have no doubt about that. I continue my work with the same professionalism as before and I am not here to deny stories.
“I am not going to comment about all the different media reports about what has supposed to have taken place. There are so many varied reports which are inaccurate and ill intentioned,” added the coach.
He did, however, hint at the possible cause of the rift between coach and star player as he wrapped up the news conference:
“There are some rules that everyone must comply with: that is one of my principles,” came the cryptic comment, though no further explanation was forthcoming.
Messi and Luis Enrique were reported to have had heated arguments in training last Friday and again after Sunday’s defeat at Real Sociedad, where Messi was unhappy about being left out of the starting lineup.