Lionel Messi’s Barcelona future looks “difficult”, according to the footballer’s father.
Jorge Messi, who is also Lionel Messi’s agent, landed at Barcelona-El Prat Airport on a flight from Argentina on Wednesday.
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He is expected to sit down with club president Josep Bartomeu and other team officials to discuss his son’s future, but it is unclear exactly when that will take place.
When asked by a journalist what Lionel Messi’s future with Barcelona looked like, Jorge Messi replied, “Difficult, difficult.”
Last week, Lionel Messi told Barcelona he wanted to leave the club and invoked a contract clause that allowed him to depart for free at the end of the season.
However, Barcelona claimed the clause had expired in June and said he must see out his current contract until June 2021, or leave by paying the buyout clause of 700 million euros ($837m).
Barca are in the middle of overhauling their squad following an 8-2 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich which condemned the club to a trophy-less season for the first time in 12 years.
After the loss, Barcelona announced it would make “profound” changes to the first team and a “wide-ranging” restructuring of the club.
The changes began with the firing of coach Quique Setien a few days after the defeat in Lisbon, and new presidential elections were called for March.
Lionel Messi, who has been named world player of the year a record six times, has grown increasingly unhappy in the last 12 months with how the club is being run under Bartomeu.
After Barca surrendered the La Liga title to Real Madrid in July, Lionel Messi slammed the team as being “weak” and “vulnerable” during an uncharacteristically fiery post-match interview.
Former Barca captain Carles Puyol backed Lionel Messi’s wish to leave the club by writing on Twitter: “Respect and admiration, Leo. You have all my support, friend.”