Barcelona can figure to spend a lot of time in the speculation spotlight during the summer after a campaign in which a Super Cup triumph early in the season will likely be the club's only trophy. In fact, talk about the future is already getting underway.
Barca need Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid to both falter over the final weeks of the campaign to claim the La Liga title. Given the unlikely nature of that, the focus has shifted to what type of changes may be on the horizon once the season comes to a close.
Andres Iniesta is confident a Lionel Messi exit will not be part of those plans. Lucas Brown of Sky Sports passed along translated comments the superstar midfielder made to Spanish outlet El Mundo Deportivo about the Argentine forward:
I have no doubts about Messi.
He could not be better anywhere else other than here and Barca will not find another player like him.
Perhaps the most amusing part about the Messi speculation is that it's based on the idea that his form hasn't been good enough this season.
It's true Messi hasn't enjoyed as dominant of form this season as he has in years past. Yet, the fact remains it takes an extremely special player to score 34 goals with 10 assists in 34 appearances across La Liga and Champions League play, and still have it be considered a down year.
The other buzz surrounds Everton manager Roberto Martinez potentially leaving the Premier League club to take over the same position at Barcelona.
Brown also passed along those remarks to a Spanish outlet, in the case Onda Cero, and Martinez said it's not even something he's had time to seriously think about:
However, Martinez insists he has not had time to consider what he would do if Barcelona came calling for him.
"The job of a coach is to always do what is best for his team and I have not given a moment's thought to what I would do," Martinez told Onda Cero.
There's no doubt Martinez has done an outstanding job in his first season at Everton, even if the Toffees end up falling short in the Champions League race. Moving from Wigan Athletic to Barcelona in the span of two years would still be quite a jump, though.
Barcelona haven't even made a public determination of the future of current manager Gerardo Martino, who joined the club in July. So there would still be several steps to travel before Martinez to Barcelona becomes a realistic possibility.
Ultimately, there will likely be several changes at Barcelona following a season unlikely to live up to their high standards barring a late La Liga charge. As is usually the case, however, most of the rumored moves won't come to fruition.
At the very least, it should make for a very interesting summer at Camp Nou.
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