Lionel Messi wants Ivan Rakitic to stay at Barcelona at any cost

The Italy global even expressed a desire to join the Nou Camp club, only for him to return to Paris Saint-Germain for pre-season training.

Barcelona remain keen on landing Verratti, who has been on their radar for months.

Yesterday technical director Robert Fernandez confirmed Barca are still in pursuit.

"I came here to play with him so, if he leaves, what would I do?", Alves said in a press conference, as quoted by Sports Push.

Don Balon claims the player has been told by new boss Ernesto Valverde he will become surplus to requirements should the Blaugrana succeed in their efforts to land Marco Verratti from PSG.

Although better known as an attacking midfielder, the player is capable of playing in a deeper role and could yet find himself plying his trade in the Premier League before the start of next season.

"I saw what my agent said and just want to say that they are not my words at all. I'll work with both Gomes and Rakitic".

Barca will travel to the United States on Wednesday (July 19) as part of the pre-season tour and will meet arch-rivals Real Madrid in a friendly match in Miami on July 29 in the first "Clasico" to take place outside Spain for 35 years.

The 23-year-old cost Barca £30million from Valencia last summer, with a further £17m available in add-ons.

The club has been heavily linked with a move for Marco Verratti, but now it is looking very unlikely that they will get the signature of the Italian star, as the club owner of PSG has blatantly refused to let him go. Valverde supposedly thinks the midfielder can bring excitement back to Catalonia after their inconsistent season under Luis Enrique last time out.

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