Football

Messi's tranfer saga remains messy after his dad meets Barca president

Jorge Messi, father and agent of Lionel Messi, appeared to concede his son could remain at Barcelona this season, according to footage broadcast by Spanish media yesterday.

Messi senior seemingly replied "yes" when asked by a reporter if they had considered the possibility of staying at the club for another season and then leaving for free next year, in a video recorded by Spanish TV station Cuatro.

The images were captured as Jorge Messi pulled into a parking garage reportedly for another day of meetings with the family's lawyers.

He had arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday, landing at the private terminal in El Prat airport on a flight from the Argentinian city of Rosario.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi boycotted Barcelona's first pre-season training session under new coach Ronald Koeman 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.

On Wednesday, Messi's father said it would be "difficult" for his son to stay at Barcelona.

But, after the club directors' meeting with the father and his entourage, Argentinian media TyC Sports reported yesterday that the 33-year-old superstar is now "90 per cent likely to stay" with the club.

MORE TALKS

Further talks are expected to be held between Barcelona and Messi's entourage, which also include his brother Rodrigo.

Barcelona insist their captain remains under contract until June 2021 and will depart only if his 700 million-euro (S$1.13 billion) release clause is activated.

This stance has been backed up by LaLiga, 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 Aug 25 when a burofax stating Messi's intention to leave arrived at Nou Camp.

The Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City, who are coached by Pep Guardiola, are looking likely to be his next destination when he leaves. - AFP

Football