Lionel Messi could perform a U-turn and decide to stay at Barcelona, according to reports.
Messi sparked one of the biggest transfer stories in football when he told Barcelona he wanted to leave recently.
The six-time Ballon D’Or winner has spent his whole professional career with the club, but grew unsettled after their 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Rumours soon emerged that Messi could reunite with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. In fact, some even went as far as to say he had agreed personal terms.
Paris Saint-Germain were also showing an interest in the 33-year-old, whom few clubs in the world could afford.
Messi came to a disagreement with Barcelona about the presence of an exit clause in his contract. He thought he could leave for free and choose his next club, but La Liga confirmed that if anyone was to sign him, they must pay Barcelona.
However, there may not be a need to resolve that argument after all. According to several sources, Messi could now in fact stay at Barcelona.
Spanish outlet Marca report that a meeting has taken place between club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Messi’s father and agent, Jorge.
Barcelona are refusing to sell him, meaning the only way he could leave is if someone paid his €700m release clause. In a world of Financial Fair Play, that would be virtually impossible.
Alternatively, Messi could take Barcelona to court to negotiate his exit. However, Marca add that he does not want to do this, given the long association he has had with them.
’90 per cent chance Messi stays’
The risk of a court battle has also put off Man City and PSG, who both wanted him to leave Barcelona on good terms as a free agent.
Therefore, he could sign a one-year extension to his contract, which currently expires in 2021. Per the terms of the potential new deal, he would be able to leave for free next summer if he wanted.
Messi has not yet turned up for pre-season Covid-19 testing or training. However, if he commits his future to Barcelona, then he could return in the near future.
In fact, Argentine outlet TyC Sports says there is a 90 per cent chance that Messi will stay put in Barcelona.
And The Times add that Messi will receive a loyalty bonus worth around €70m if he stays until the end of next season.