Barcelona, Spain, Sep 2 – Jorge Messi, father and agent of Lionel Messi, said on Wednesday he thinks it will be “difficult” for his son to stay at Barcelona.
Messi senior landed in Barcelona on Wednesday ahead of talks with the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu about the striker’s intention to leave this summer.
Messi senior flew in from the Argentine city of Rosario, landing at the private terminal in Barcelona’s El Prat airport on Wednesday morning.
Asked by reporters about the possibility of Messi staying, Jorge Messi said: “Difficult”. He was then asked how he sees his son’s future at Barca, to which he replied: “Difficult, difficult”.
When the prospect of joining Manchester City was put to him, he said: “There’s nothing yet.” It was suggested he had spoken already to City coach Pep Guardiola. “I didn’t talk to Pep,” Jorge Messi said. “Not to anyone.”
Jorge Messi will be hoping to unblock the stand-off between Barca and his son, which threatens to descend into an expensive and bitter legal battle if a resolution cannot be found.
However, media reports late Wednesday said talks had ended with no agreement.
“The first meeting between Bartomeu and Jorge Messi ends without agreement,” said Catalan sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo in its online edition.
Marca added: “Barca does not negotiate the exit of ‘Leo’.”
Other Spanish sports media claimed the discussions will continue and another meeting could take place.
The 33-year-old Messi boycotted Barcelona’s first pre-season training session on Monday, as he tries to force his way out of the club he joined as a 13-year-old.
Messi also failed to attend a coronavirus test at Barcelona’s training ground on Sunday.
Yet Barcelona insist their captain will only depart if his 700-million-euro ($833 million) release clause is activated, a stance that has been backed up by La Liga, who say that release clause still applies.
But Messi and his lawyers argue he is allowed to go for free this summer according to another clause in his contract, which they claim was triggered on August 25 when a burofax stating Messi’s intention to leave arrived at Camp Nou.
If Messi joins another club but loses in court, he could be liable to pay the 700 million euros Barcelona are owed.
Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City are the firm favourites to sign Messi, not least because of his previous success with City coach Pep Guardiola. Inter Milan, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are also interested.