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Lionel Messi to Manchester United: Jose Mourinho plays down speculation

Jose Mourinho has played down speculation linking Manchester United to Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

According to initial reports from Spain, Adidas are contemplating teaming up with United in an effort to fund a world-record bid for the Argentine.

The German sportswear giants are concerned by the damage United’s current lack of success could bring to their own brand and have allegedly identified Messi as a quick-fix solution.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with the 29-year-old, who has been named world player of the year five times. But Mourinho believes he will never leave the Nou Camp.

"Lionel Messi is every season the same story, that he’s going to leave,” he said.

"Honestly, I hope he never leaves. I think he belongs to Barca and Barca belong to him.

"I think it would be beautiful for him to start and finish his career at Barcelona. I think he will stay but that's just a personal opinion."

Mourinho has confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be staying put at Old Trafford for a second season, however.

The Swede joined on a one-year deal, as per United’s policy regarding players over the age of 30, but Mourinho indicated that United would be taking up the option of a second year.

"We are going to execute the option of a second season,” he announced. “After that he can do what he wants.

However, nothing has been signed but Ibrahimovic confirmed that the second year would be triggered automatically if he carries on playing as many games as he has been.

"For the moment we haven’t had any discussions,” the 35-year-old said. “I have a comment that says one plus one. I feel good, I feel fresh, I feel in shape, so it will probably be a second year. I want to perform like I can do and not waste time.

“The second year goes automatic after one, so if it continues like this, yes.

“Once I stepped into the city the whole city was shining, but I feel it shining now 24 hours, even if it gets dark by three or four o’clock, I’m here and I’m having a good time. I feel comfortable, I feel good, I’m simple. I’m happy.”

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