Lionel Messi and Barcelona need to come to a “reasonable agreement” over his future after the player asked to be freed from his contract, according to one of the club’s presidential candidates.
The 33-year-old informed the club last month that he wished to leave in the wake of their 8-2 Champions League thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich, claiming a clause in his contract would allow him to walk away for free.
That has been disputed by Barca, who are now set for talks with Messi’s father Jorge after he reportedly arrived in Spain for talks with the board.
It is believed the clause Messi is attempting to activate expired earlier in the year but that the six-time Ballon D’Or winner feels – because the season was extended following the coronavirus pandemic – the expiration date on the clause should also be adjusted accordingly.
Barcelona disagree and were backed by LaLiga on Sunday, hours after Messi failed to show up for his scheduled Covid-19 test which would have allowed him to start pre-season training with new head coach Ronald Koeman the following day.
Jorge Messi is claimed to have told local reporters that his son’s future at Barcelona would be “difficult” as presidential candidate Victor Font said reaching an amicable decision was key.
“We need the two parties to sit down and discuss to ensure that whatever transition needs to happen,” Font told talkSPORT.
“I’m truly hoping reason prevails and as soon as the club and Messi’s father sit down and talk, that the interest of both Messi and Barca will be taken into account and properly protected.
“What I believe is very important is that a reasonable agreement is reached, so that we protect the interests of the club going forward.
“The damage this is doing to Barcelona is quite phenomenal. That’s why we insist in the relevance of managing this properly because it can still be contained.”
Clear links have already been made between Messi and his former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola – who is now in charge at Manchester City.
The Premier League side would also be one of only a handful of clubs in the world who could consider the financial outlay required to land Messi.
“What is clear is the priority for Messi is to play in a team that can compete for the top silverware worldwide and in Europe,” added Font.
“He wants to win more Champions Leagues and obviously Manchester City and Pep are top candidates.”