Football: Lionel Messi's father plays down son's 'Barca exit' comments

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi reacts during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs RC Celta de Vigo at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Nov 1, 2014. Messi's father Jorge has sought to play down comments his son made this
Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi reacts during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs RC Celta de Vigo at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Nov 1, 2014. Messi's father Jorge has sought to play down comments his son made this week which suggested the four-times World Player of the Year could consider leaving Barcelona. -- PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA (REUTERS) - Lionel Messi's father Jorge has sought to play down comments his son made this week which suggested the four-times World Player of the Year could consider leaving Barcelona.

Lionel Messi said in an interview published in Ole newspaper on Tuesday that if it were up to him, he would stay at the club he joined as a 13-year-old for his entire career.

However, he added that "sometimes not everything happens in the way you would like" and said the situation was "complicated".

"The thought is to stay here (in Barcelona)," Jorge Messi was quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia on Wednesday.

"But as people read between the lines there is exaggeration," he added.

"It's clear that if tomorrow the club says to you 'we have this offer, we want to sell you', it would have to be studied. Although right now it is not even on the agenda."

Lionel Messi has not been at his scintillating best over the past 18 months and, along with his father, has also had problems with the Spanish tax authorities.

Now 27, Messi probably has at least five years left at the top of the game and if the right offer was made, likely to be a world record fee in excess of €100 million (S$164 million), it is not inconceivable Barca could cash in or he could himself decide to leave.

Barca have a new coach this season in former Spain midfielder Luis Enrique, who replaced the discarded Gerardo Martino, now Messi's coach for Argentina.

They are second in La Liga, two points behind Real Madrid after 11 matches, and have qualified for the Champions League knockout round.