SERGIO AGUERO says Lionel Messi will only leave Barcelona in event of a "catastrophe" with his Argentina pal "comfortable and happy".
Messi's deal with the Catalan giants expires in 2021 but he is yet to agree an extension following ongoing tensions with the Barca hierarchy – prompting interest from Inter Milan and Manchester City.
Messi's trophy laden career at the Nou Camp includes, 10 La Liga titles, four Champions League trophies, three FIFA Club World Cup's and six Copa del Rey crowns.
The 32-year-old has 14 months left on his Barca deal but recent tensions between the six-time Ballon d'Or winner and Barcelona has led to suggestions he could leave the club after 19 years.
But Aguero – who first played with Messi for Argentina's U17 side 15 years ago – has thrown cold water over speculation of his fellow compatriot moving away from the Catalan giants.
The Manchester City ace said: "Leo is a player who is already a symbol and legend of Barcelona, but things happen in football.
"Many players have changed for Leo and he stayed at Barcelona. He loves the club, he identifies with Barcelona, he is comfortable and happy.
"No matter how many things happen, he will continue. Unless something catastrophic happens."
Messi's most recent spat with the Barca board came over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, when the skipper was thought to be losing patience with chiefs over wage deferrals.
The talisman was among the first-team players to release a statement to confirm the squad are taking 70 per cent pay cuts which Messi insisted the players would have done, regardless of extra pressure applied by the board.
In February, he blasted ex-team-mate and director of football Eric Abidal over comments regarding some players' commitment and effort amid Ernesto Valverde's sacking.
Messi also said he found it "strange" that the club were forced to deny claims they paid a PR firm to attack stars, including the Argentine icon.
The Barca ace revealed he sees "weird things happening" at the Catalan club.
Despite the bubbling tensions former club president Emili Rousaud recently revealed that he is confident the Spanish side can tie Messi down on a new deal.
He was linked with a sensational move to Inter Milan by former club president Massimo Moratti but Messi blasted the link as "fake news".
And reports in Spain insisted that Barcelona were "completely unfazed" by the comments.
Man City were also ready to pounce and the club has believed for years that if Messi ever left Barcelona, his most likely destination would be the Etihad.
He had some of the best times of his career during Pep Guardiola’s four-year Nou Camp reign, twice winning the Champions League.
Barca have reportedly been hit hard financially by the coronavirus crisis which may mean they are forced to cash in on valuable assets to raise enough funds for their transfer targets.
According to Mundo Deportivo, every player is up for auction as the killer virus takes its toll apart from Messi and first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
A Nou Camp presidential candidate has previously declared that the club are heading towards “economic bankruptcy” as tensions off the field continue to brew.
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