Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has played down suggestions linking the Premier League leaders with a big-money move for Lionel Messi after joking that Jose Mourinho would have to sell half his Stamford Bridge squad before being able to afford the Barcelona superstar.
The Belgium international was asked for his opinion on recent speculation linking the four-time Ballon d'Or winner with a potential transfer to west London, after he seemingly started following the Blues stopper on Instagram, fuelling rumours of a possible switch.
Courtois insisted that social media situations such as this rarely develop into something more concrete, and suggested that there has been no official line from Messi himself suggesting that he wants to leave Camp Nou, despite refusing to commit his long-term future to the Catalan club at last week's 2014 FIFA awards ceremony in Zurich.
The 22-year-old intimated that it was nothing more than a PR stunt during what was being viewed outside Barcelona as a turbulent time for the Spanish giants, following an alleged breakdown in the relationship between Messi and manager Luis Enrique.
However, despite the ongoing boardroom politics it seems that things have started to settle down again, although questions regarding prospective moves for all high-profile players are never very far away, particularly in the middle of a transfer window.
"I do not know why this has caused such a stir," Courtois was quoted by Le 10 Sport telling Canal Football Club. "He has not even said he wanted to leave Barcelona.
"With social networking today, people become crazy. Besides, I do not think Chelsea can buy Messi, except if we sell half our team."
Based on his performances on the pitch there's certainly no suggestions that Messi is unhappy with life at Barcelona after netting an impressive 19 goals and contributing eight assists in 18 starts in La Liga this season.
Last night he scored another hat-trick - the 30th treble of his illustrious career - to help down Deportivo La Coruna at the Riazor with an emphatic 4-0 victory to ensure that Real Madrid didn't extend their lead at the top of the table following a 3-0 win away at Getafe earlier on Sunday.
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