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Barcelona-target Verratti apologises to PSG over transfer talk

© MM/AFP/File / by Philippe GRELARD | Paris Saint-Germain's Italian midfielder Marco Verratti, whose contract runs until 2021, has been linked to Barcelona throughout the summer

PARIS (AFP) - 

Italian international midfielder Marco Verratti has apologised to Paris Saint-Germain officials and fans in a video posted by the Ligue 1 side over the furore whipped up by his desire to leave the club.

"I've been here for five years, and if I've become a good player it's thanks to Paris Saint-Germain, who believed in me from the start. That's why I apologise," the 24-year-old said as he resumed training with his French club on Friday.

Verratti, whose contract runs until 2021, has been linked to Barcelona throughout the summer and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu told Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo of his frustrations at running into a PSG roadblock.

"Verratti is a player who interests us," said Bartomeu. "The technical staff believe he is good enough to play for Barcelona.

"We know the player is bowled over by the prospect of coming to Barca.

"But when you ring PSG and you talk to their president (Nasser Al-Khelaifi), he says to us that he is not for sale and that they don't have a release clause."

Verratti's agent Donato Di Campli also told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport that Qatar's Khelaifi sees Verratti as the cornerstone of a PSG side of the future and would never be forgiven in Doha if he released him.

"Marco Verratti is a prisoner of the Emir," he said, in the hope of forcing the PSG president to sell his most prized asset.

Verratti, however, distanced himself from his agent's comments.

"I also saw this morning (Friday) another statement from my agent," Verratti said.

"I wanted to tell everyone that these are not my thoughts, not my words," he continued. "He (Di Campli) works for me, and I want to apologise to the club, supporters, the people who work here.

"(My agent) messed up this statement. As I said it's not what I think, I hope that there won't be anything like this again.

"We started preparing for the season and I'm very happy to start a new season and to come back to the club, my team-mates, my coach and everyone. I know that the club has a lot of confidence in me."

Earlier Friday PSG said on its website that Verratti had resumed training, with the team's first match of the season in the Champions' Trophy against Monaco on July 29, before they start their Ligue 1 campaign on August 5.

"The number 6 of the capital club completed a training session alongside the other members of the group before carrying out a specific training," the statement said.

by Philippe GRELARD

© 2017 AFP