Barcelona won’t discuss future with Lionel Messi
In a rapid change of events, Barcelona has no interest in holding a meeting with Lionel Messi to negotiate his exit after the dynamo showed interest in talking to the board. The Argentine captain had wanted to have one last meeting with Barcelona brass to potentially leave in good terms with the club and find common ground that could secure his exit from the Camp Nou.
Yet Barcelona is willing to play hardball this early in the game, making one thing abundantly clear: it’s all or nothing for Messi.
“Either it’s to renew [his contract] or there’s nothing to discuss,” Barcelona said of potential talks with Lionel Messi, according to Marca.
Behind the scenes, Barcelona is still trying to look for a way to convince the prodigy into staying with the club. President Josep Maria Bartomeu has even offered to leave his post and call for immediate new elections, so long as Messi admits Bartomeu must go if he is to stay.
This is a genius move from Bartomeu, given that if he is forced to leave Barcelona, he will be hailed as the hero that made Lionel Messi stay with the club. If Messi doesn’t point the finger at Bartomeu — which is the expected move — the latter will get to stay until elections are called in March and free himself from immediate responsibility.
Lionel Messi is well aware that language in his contract won’t allow him to leave without a transfer fee being paid. Other clubs are also aware of that but are hoping Barcelona gives a more reasonable price tag than an insurmountable €700 million that would put any club in the verge of financial disaster.
Manchester City reportedly offered €100 million in addition to the rights to winger Bernardo Silva, forward Gabriel Jesus, and La Masia product Eric García, who is anxious to return to his old stomping grounds in Barcelona.