Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has called out the club’s interim President Carlos Tusquets for saying Messi should have been sold during the last summer transfer window.
Tusquets said selling the forward, 33, was “desirable” because of the money the Spanish giants could have made.
“I don’t care what’s said outside the club. However, comments from inside the club don’t help us have the calmness we need to do our job,” said Koeman.
“We can’t control what’s said outside, but from within it’s a different story.”
Messi will be out of contract with Barcelona by the end of next summer. The Argentine star had attempted to leave the club on free transfer when he activated his release clause in August.
But Barça blocked the move, citing that their all-time leading goalscorer must pay 700m euros (£624m) before he could be released.
He eventually agreed to see out his contract at Nou Camp to avoid facing the “club of his life” in court.
“If there’s anyone who needs to decide about his future, it’s Leo himself,” added Koeman.
“It [selling Messi] might have been his [Tusquets’] personal opinion and I respect that, but Leo’s got a year left on his deal and he is the one who needs to decide.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly keen on signing the 33-year-old should he decide not to renew his contract at Barcelona.