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It's all getting very Messi at Barcelona


Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring a goal

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring a goal

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring a goal

IT is never less than interesting to watch those in the eye of a storm and in the last few days Lionel Messi and Luis Enrique have been falling over with body language.

Messi's studied, emotionless and almost Zen like calm at the Ballon D'Or awards was in marked contrast to a more than slightly frayed Enrique when he spoke to media yesterday and told them that the star man was not leaving Barcelona.

He clearly doesn't spend as much time on his personal grooming, as for instance, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi and haggard is probably too harsh a word to describe his appearance but it is safe to say that he is not enjoying this period of his time as Barcelona manager.

For a month or more now he has heard no other name and he has developed the same thousand yard stare which Martin O'Neill shunts into place when another Roy Keane query lands in his lap.

Enrique wasn't in Zurich and was happy to reveal that he didn't bother watching the Ballon D'or ceremony and no surprise there.

Despite Cristiano Ronaldo's ability to sparkle in front of cameras, any cameras, and the fact that he actually won the gong, Messi stole the headlines with a remarkable suit and an inscrutable speech which sent Russian financiers and oil empire accountants running for their laptops.

Now, the game is moving to another level. Carlo Ancellotti has stuck an oar in with a suggestion that Real Madrid would be the appropriate environment for two godlike footballers

Speaking before Madrid's Copa del Rey tussle with Atletico and asked whether he could ever conceive of Ronaldo and Messi in the one team, he threw out the response journalists were hoping for but not before introducing an element of reality.

"I believe so yes," Ancelotti said. "Although you must bear in mind that Cristiano is the emblem of Real Madrid, and Messi of Barcelona."

"Each one has their own team and their own history, but to have both in the same team would be a great thing for us. It is, however, difficult to think it is going to change."

Difficult, sure, but impossible? Luis Figo made the switch as did the current Barcelona boss Enrique but judging from what he had to say, no less inscrutable than Messi' contribution, it will never happen.

"I am focused on having the team under control this season and see how far we can get. We all think - and he has expressed the same thing several times - that Leo is going to stay at Barca for many years. That is what all of us 'cules' (Barca fans) want," he said.

"I don't see why - well, I do but - I don't understand why there is so much talk about it when we are not even considering it."

Wrapping the flag around yourself is never a bad idea when you're under siege and facing local unrest and by placing himself with the fans, Enrique whacked the ball back over the net. We await Messi's response.

Messi has portrayed himself as a bit of cork on the ocean, bobbing in the direction fate takes him and in a mad, mad football world, anything is possible.

The reality is that nothing will be possible unless Messi lowers wage demands (unlikely) or Barcelona choose to waive his ridiculous £250m buyout clause.

With numbers currently hovering around £600m to buy the Messi brand, even wildly rich men like Roman Abramovich or the oil sheikhs would baulk at such an outlay.

Perhaps a group of agents could take it on and try to print money off Messi's back but Uefa and Fifa both moved against third-party ownership in September and intend to ban it.

It will come down to practicalities if he ever does leave the Nou Camp. If Enrique and Messi are heading towards a point of no return, Barcelona, in the throes of presidential election battle, will have to make a decision. Do they want their coach or do they want the man who is still for many the best player in the world?

If they choose the coach, they will open the floor to bidders and if that happens, it will be time to take out the popcorn and sit back for the greatest transfer story world sport has ever seen.

Just imagine. Messi and Ronaldo in the one team.