Reports from Spain have sensationally revealed that Lionel Messi rejected a contract extension offer from Barcelona earlier in the summer.
Spanish publication Marca have generated shockwaves in the football world with the revelation that global icon Lionel Messi rejected a contract extension offer from Barcelona in July this year.
The report claims that Messi came to the decision in approximately the second week of July while he was vacationing with his family. The forward, though, decided not to communicate his decision to the Barcelona board personally and instead made his intentions known to his father and representatives, who then proceeded to convey the news to the club and its president Josep Bartomeu.
It has been suggested that the Argentine’s legal difficulties due to alleged tax fraud were a decisive factor in the player’s decision. However, Barcelona president Bartomeu has recovered from the initial shock and it is certain that the club will make further attempts at negotiating a new deal with Lionel Messi in the near future.
Messi’s current deal is set to expire in 2018 and the Barcelona No.10 reportedly has every intention of honouring the existing contract. While Barcelona fans would be happy with the news of Messi staying for at least another season and a half, there would be genuine concern about the Argentine’s refusal to extend his contract.
Messi has started this season in menacing form, with 15 goals and 5 assists in 12 appearances in La Liga and the Champions League combined. However, Barcelona have been inconsistent with their performances and trail league leaders Real Madrid by two points. Luis Enrique’s men also suffered a shock 3-1 loss to Manchester City in the Champions League group stage, which was followed by reports of a tunnel tussle, with Messi in the midst of it.
Messi was reported earlier to be insistent up the inclusion of a clause that would enable him to opt to leave for boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys if and when he chooses to do so. The inclusion of such an agreement could persuade Messi to extend his contract at the Nou Camp.
The report also mentions the possibility of a move to Manchester City, with his former boss Pep Guardiola the key factor. In all likelihood, however, Barcelona are unlikely to allow Messi to leave for another European club and could be forced to include the Old Boys clause in order to convince Messi to extend his stay at Barcelona.