Barcelona vice- president – ‘Messi criticism taken on board’

Vilanova’s assessment is the first time someone on the Barca board has spoken publicly since Messi’s explosive interview with Goal last week.

Messi admitted he had been forced to stay this summer but said he had wanted to leave and was dismayed by the lack of direction at the top of the club.

“We are very happy that Messi is with us and has joined this exciting project,” said Vilanova on Friday.

“You have to take his words into consideration and for this reason we are starting a recovery, for this reason we are beginning a new, fresh and exciting project.”

Messi was back in training this week and has been working on team’s off days as he has been trying to make up for lost time.

Barcelona are set to play a friendly against Gimnastic Tarragona on Saturday and then Elche and Giron. Before starting their La Liga season at home to Villarreal at the end of the month.

“In any profession, we’ve all had doubts about our situation and then, after some reflection, we have decided to continue or to leave,” said Vilanova. “In this case he will continue and he will be motivated.”

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