Football

Lionel Messi’s father arrives in Barcelona for key talks with Josep Maria Bartomeu


Lionel Messi’s father Jorge Messi is in Barcelona to discuss his son’s future (Getty Images)

Lionel Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, has arrived in Barcelona for key talks with the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu over his son’s future.

Messi shocked Barcelona last month after he told the club’s hierarchy that he wants to leave Camp Nou this summer.

Barcelona, however, are disputing a clause in Messi’s contract which states that he is able to leave the club as a free agent.

Messi no longer considers himself as a Barcelona player and did not show up for the team’s mandatory Covid-19 testing on Sunday, as well as the first training session with new manager Ronald Koeman the following day.

Jorge Messi, who represents his son, travelled from Rosario to Barcelona via private jet on Wednesday morning and will now hold face-to-face discussions with Bartomeu to resolve the situation.

After arriving at Barcelona airport, Jorge Messi told waiting reporters: ‘I don’t know anything, guys.’

Jorge Messi was mobbed by reporters after arriving at Barcelona airport on Wednesday (Reuters)

Manchester City are favourites to land Messi this summer and the Argentine has reportedly held talks with Pep Guardiola over a move to the Etihad Stadium.

Barcelona, however, are adamant that the 33-year-old’s €700 million (£624m) release clause still needs to be activated in order for him to leave.

But Messi is arguing that a clause in his contract which allows him to leave as a free agent is still valid as the 2019-20 season was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, La Liga sided with Barcelona and claimed Messi’s release clause remains active.

Speaking this week, Victor Font, who is hoping to replace Bartomeu as Barcelona president, admitted that Messi is unlikely to chance his mind.

‘Until it’s over there is always hope. And therefore I really hope the decision can be changed,’ he told Sky Sports.

‘It doesn’t seem likely, though, and therefore if that’s the case, the focus should be on making the transition as smooth as possible.

‘And the ties between Messi and Barcelona that go very deep, remain there, so we can ensure somehow, the relationship continues in the future.’

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