Lionel Messi could be set for a shock exit from Barcelona with reports claiming it is now “almost impossible” that he will sign a new deal.
A number of reports claimed that an announcement over a five-year deal were imminent as Messi looked set to stay at the club he joined as a 13-year-old.
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However, Spanish newspaper Marca are now reporting that there has been a “radical turnaround” regarding the contract negotiations and Messi is “further than ever from renewing” with Barcelona.
It is claimed that a “cordial” meeting was held between the club and Messi’s representatives and they are now at a “point of no return that seems impossible to resolve”.
The shock news could mean that Messi leaves Barca as a free agent this summer.
It is reported that new club CEO Ferran Reverter has played a key role in the decision over Messi’s future with Catalan radio outfit RAC1 also reporting it.
Barcelona-based Sport say “negotiations are not broken but have suffered a significant slowdown”.
Messi was set to take a large pay cut to stay at the club to help Barcelona stay under the salary cap imposed by La Liga.
But letting Messi, who is the club’s highest earner by a distance, leave would still free up an enormous amount of funding for cash-strapped Barca, who could also be set to receive a cash injection from La Liga’s deal with private equity firm CVC.
While supporters would not be happy with the decision to let Messi depart, it would give the club more flexibility over their finances and future moves.
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