Lionel Messi in club colors other than the Blaugranas?
That’s the takeaway from a Marca report claiming that the world’s greatest attacker turned down an extension at Barcelona this summer with the possibility of seeing out his contract, which expires after next season. It also says his agent-father is now willing to hear an offer from Barca.
While admittedly Marca will be thrilled to stir up any controversy at Barcelona, its report will still bring plenty of discussion. The last we heard, Barca was confident of a new deal as recently as September.
(UPDATE: Goal is refuting the Marca report, stating that Lionel Messi has not told Barcelona officials that he is unwilling to negotiate a new contract.)
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Messi has a close to $270 million release clause in his current Barca deal, which runs through 2017-18. The report says his tax evasion trial shook him up, and that he made his intentions clear to Barca boss Josep Maria Bartomeu.
If he played out his deal, Barca would gain nothing from his departure. That would cause the club to really evaluate whether it should ship him out this summer, with his value still very high despite him turning 30 in late June.
While Messi failed to average more than a goal a game — the nerve! — last season the prolific predator has 19 in 16 to start this season. He’s also nabbed seven goals in nine appearances for Argentina.
Our take? The contract gets settled before the end of the year, with transfer bans to Atletico and Real Madrid giving Barca a very good chance to complete for multiple crowns over the next few seasons.
If for whatever reason this gets to summer, which we doubt it will, Barca would be willing to move the man for megabucks. Man City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain… all will be bidding to put the magic man in their shirt.