Lionel Messi had stern words for Barcelona finance VP Javier Faus, who claimed that the club did not need to further extend the superstar's contract, which already runs to 2018.
Emilio Morenatti/AP

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Lionel Messi criticized a Barcelona vice president on Friday for saying the Argentina forward didn't deserve a better contract.

Javier Faus, the vice president in charge of Barcelona's finances, said two weeks ago he didn't see a reason to further extend Messi's contract. Last year, the club extended the 26-year-old Messi's contract through 2018.

''Mr. Faus is a person that doesn't know anything about football and wants to run Barcelona like a business, which it isn't,'' Messi told Catalan radio RAC1. ''Barcelona is the best team in the world and deserves to be represented by the best executives.

''I remind him that neither I nor any of my representatives have asked for a contract extension at any moment, and he knows that very well.''

Messi is Barcelona's all-time leading scorer and a four-time world player of the year. He is in Argentina recovering from a hamstring injury and expected to return to Barcelona in January.

Messi rarely speaks about the business side of his career. This is the first time he has openly criticized an important board member of the club he joined when he was 13 years old.

Besides a series of injuries, Messi's season has also been marked by legal problems. Messi and his father Jorge are being investigated for allegedly not paying all their taxes. Messi's father made a payment of more than 5 million euros (then $6.6 million) on Aug. 14 to cover alleged back taxes and interest.

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes called for calm and downplayed any conflict between the club and its most valuable player.

''We are all pulling in the same direction in this club,'' Valdes said.

Even so, it appears that a better deal for Messi could be in the works.

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said on Thursday he had not spoken to Messi about his contract, while adding ''but my door is always open. I have no doubt that the best player in the world deserves to be the highest paid.''

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.