MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 17:34:26| >> :60:480:480:

Henk ten Cate: 'Lionel Messi made deathbed promise to Tito Vilanova'

Former Barcelona assistant manager Henk ten Cate claims that Lionel Messi is still at the club because of a promise he made to Tito Vilanova shortly before his death.

Henk ten Cate has claimed that Lionel Messi is only staying at Barcelona due to a "deathbed" promise he made to former head coach Tito Vilanova.

Vilanova passed away last April after a long battle with cancer, and Ten Cate, who served as assistant to Frank Rijkaard at Camp Nou in the early stages of Messi's career, suggests that a promise between the two is keeping the Argentine at the club.

"As far as I know these problems started around two years ago. Messi is only at Barcelona because of a promise he made to Tito Vilanova on his deathbed," the former Barcelona coach told Der Telegraaf.

"However, I think a transfer would be in everyone's best interests because Leo has been with Barca quite a while and needs a new challenge."

Messi was linked with a move to the Premier League earlier this week after reportedly falling out with Luis Enrique.

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Luis Enrique Martinez faces the media during his official presentation as the new coach of FC Barcelona at Camp Nou on May 21, 2014
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Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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