MADRID, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona coach Tata Martino insisted on Saturday that the club had no intention of selling star striker Leo Messi.
Martino made the remarks in a press conference ahead of Sunday's BBVA Primera Liga match in Getafe and in the wake of declarations from Messi, criticizing Barca Vice-President Javier Faus, who he accused of having "no idea about football."
Messi also insisted he had not asked for a pay rise in a new contract, raising speculation that Barca could consider selling the striker.
"That is not true," said Martino when asked about the question.
"I don't usually get distracted by questions like, this, which have nothing to do on the pitch," added Martino, who did however give more credibility to declarations from goalkeeper Victor Valdes that some parts of the Madrid based media were looking to destabilize the club.
"There is something in what Victor said, which I consider interesting. We have to be stronger in the group," he commented.
One of the rumors this week said that the Argentinean would abandon Barcelona at the end of the campaign as he was unhappy at the club, something he appeared to deny, saying his: "process of insertion in the institution and the team means we know each other better every day."
"It has happened correctly," he said, although he added.
"I don't want to position myself in a place that doesn't correspond to me. How can I say that I hope to continue for many years if it depends on getting results every three days."
Barcelona face the possibility of losing their leadership of the Primera Liga unless they match Atletico Madrid's result this weekend, and Martino highlighted the importance of ending 2013 as leader.
"It is very important to finish the year in first place and with a solid performance. I hope we can continue improving in respect to our recent displays," said Martino, who confirmed that Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol will miss the game through injury, along with Leo Messi and the suspended Neymar.