Lionel Messi says that until the end of the season he will not negotiate with any suitors as Barcelona fight to keep their brightest star.
Messi’s deal with the Spanish giants expires with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, each hoping that they will convince the greatest player of his generation to end his association with Barcelona for nearly 20 years.
In recent years, with Messi’s decision to send a transfer request following last season’s Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich, the Spanish giants have found themselves in chaos on and off the field with a damning indictment of the direction of a team that is eight points off the top of La Liga.
However, in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, Ronald Koeman’s side remains in the mix, a trophy that they and Messi did not lift until 2015. Ending the drought could persuade the Argentine to continue as he maintains that he will wait before committing his future to see how the remainder of this season plays out.
“I will not negotiate with other clubs,” Messi told La Sexta in an interview. I’ll wait until the season ends and I’ll decide in June.
I can’t say what I’m going to do because I don’t know either… if I leave, I want to leave in the best way, and then come back to contribute to the club later on. Barcelona is greater than any player in the world.
Last summer, Messi sent to the Barcelona hierarchy a ‘burofax’, a certified legal document, telling them that he intended to trigger an opportunity he had to release himself from his contract. In the end, the Argentine wanted to change his mind, but he did not sign an extension with the club and on June 30 he will be out of the contract.
The 33-year-old had become disillusioned with a squad around him that had atrophied and, in particular, with a hierarchy headed by former President Josep Maria Bartomeu, who had refused to make shrewd investments in the club and its players.