Lionel Messi rejected 'huge' deal from Premier League club before extending contract

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The five-time Ballon d'Or victor recently signed a new deal with Barcelona that runs to 2021.

The 30-year-old Barcelona number ten was not in action when the La Albiceleste and the Super Eagles played a Friendly game in November.

Ernesto Valverde, however, has left Messi as a substitute for Barca's last two Champions League outings, away to Juventus in November and in Tuesday's home win over Sporting.

"I've said many times that my dream is to play at Newell's but I don't know what will happen, and a part of that doubt is due to the way the country is at the moment", he told TyC Sports.

People want results and if they don't get them, they want to see fresh blood.

Messi is now the second highest paid player in the world, earning R8.7 million a week.

"We have had some good games, or good spells under Sampaoli".

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"But it's true that we need to improve if we want to be world champions. Right now there are better teams than us, like Brazil, Germany, France and Spain".

"Criticism went above and beyond what is normal and became personal", he said.

While it has been a shock to see Messi out of the starting line-up, the player himself is convinced that it is for the best as he looks to reach the end of the season in top condition.

"If he wanted to leave, he would not have signed a new contract".

"I think if we do badly in this World Cup, we all have to disappear from the National Team".

Messi's side will kick off their World Cup campaign against Iceland on June 16, before facing Croatia and Nigeria in their other group stage fixtures.

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