Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
File Pic

A meeting held between Jorge Messi and Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu to discuss Lionel Messi's future at the Catalan club ended without an agreement.

Jorge, who is Messi's father and agent, had arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday. A horde of reporters and cameraman received Jorge at the airport where he said, "I don't know anything."

Dozens of reporters waited at the entrance to the Camp Nou stadium and Jorge was even followed to the restaurant where he had lunch.

Jorge believes it would be "difficult" for his son to remain at Barcelona, where he has spent the last 20 years.

That was apparently the posture he maintained in his meeting lasting approximately an hour and a half with Bartomeu who, according the El Mundo Deportivo newspaper, offered to extend Messi's contract -- due to expire in June 2021 -- until the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

That offer was rejected, with Jorge Messi insisting that his son's current contract means he can leave Barcelona for free during the current transfer window. Barcelona continue to reject that interpretation and they and La Liga insist that Messi's release clause of 700 million euros must be met if the player is to leave the club.

As if to underline its position, Barca launched its new first team kit for the 2020-21 season on Wednesday, with Messi taking pride of place in publicity photos and the club shop filled with Barcelona shirts with 'Messi 10' printed on the back.

But Messi is hellbent on leaving the Spanish giant, and English club Manchester City are favourites to sign the Argentine in a bid to reunite him with his former manager Pep Guardiola who led Barcelona to glory from 2008 to 2012.

However, the new La Liga season is due to kick off in Spain in nine days' time, but this saga looks set to run for longer than that.

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Free Press Journal