Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has fuelled speculation that Lionel Messi could be about to leave Camp Nou after refusing to discuss the Argentine superstar in today's pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday's La Liga clash against Elche.
The Daily Mirror carries quotes from the 44-year-old tactician which suggest all is not well in Catalonia at the moment, following rumours the four-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner's relationship with the current Barca boss has deteriorated beyond the point of repair.
Messi was left out of the Barcelona team that lost 1-0 against David Moyes's Real Sociedad on Sunday, and the 27-year-old also missed an open training session on Monday.
Barcelona later released a statement that the South American was suffering from a bout of gastroenteritis, but that has done little to quash recent stories suggesting Messi is poised to make a shock departure in 2015.
When asked if there was any truth in reports that the pint-sized magician has grown unappy at the club, Enrique did little to downplay speculation with a very guarded response.
"I’m not the right person to answer that," he said. "I can't comment on that, things change.
"I do not talk about what happens in the dressing room or the training ground; what happens there, stays there. My job is to manage the team. I do not confirm or deny."
Chelsea have been linked with a blockbuster £200 million move for Messi at the end of the season, with Spanish station Rac 1 implying that the Argentina international's father Jorge has already received contact from senior officials at Stamford Bridge.
Roman Abramovich is a confirmed admirer of world football's most naturally gifted player, but it remains to be seen how Jose Mourinho would incorporate him into an already talented squad in west London which is packed full of attacking talent.