Lionel Messi Will Leave Barcelona in Summer, Claims Francois Gallardo

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor INovember 22, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 06:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group H match Between FC Barcelona and AC Milan at Camp Nou on November 6, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Lionel Messi is set to make a sensational exit from FC Barcelona in the summer—at least if notorious "insider" Francois Gallardo is to be believed.

The football agent was speaking on Spanish television show Punto Pelota when he made the sensational claim, indicating there had been a disagreement between the player and club over an agreed contract improvement:

Per 101 Great Goals, Gallardo told the viewing public:

In late September, just two months ago, one Barca player and his advisers met with the club. The footballer wanted a review of his contract and the Catalans promised to allow that player to do so. They agreed an increase in wages. Yet after a month, the club made ​​contact with them and explained that they could not fulfil it.

So a month ago the relationship between advisers and the club broke down. The player feels betrayed and has decided to leave at the end of the season. 

The player has a verbal agreement other team, and in for February/March he will begin preparing his transfer. The decision is taken. Leo Messi will leave the club at the end of season!

To understand why Gallardo's dramatically delivered message of impending Barcelona doom is worth treating with more than a pinch of salt, it is important to understand the nature of the beast.

A fortnight ago, Gallardo informed the audience on the same show that Pedro would also be leaving the Camp Nou, per 101 Great Goals:

He insisted in 2012 that Chelsea captain John Terry could join Valencia, per Fox Sports, while Sky Sports' Francisco Acedo quotes him as negotiating a move for Didier Drogba to Barcelona in the same year—which, again, didn't happen.

Indeed, the man has something of a track record of linking Barcelona employees away from the club.

Not only did he report that Pep Guardiola had a pre-contract agreement with Manchester City, per the Mirror's Neil McLeman, but also per Football Espana insisted that Guardiola's eventual departure was linked to a desire to sell Cesc Fabregas:

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Given that he is commonly referred to as a FIFA agent, despite individual FAs being responsible for agent licences, it is also interesting to note that he does not appear on the list of registered Spanish agents—at least, not under "Francois Gallardo."

There is a "Francisco Jesus Gallardo Serrano" registered in Madrid, but it is unclear whether it is the same man.

Punto Pelota will gain headlines for its latest melodramatic transfer revelation, but will continue to fail to be taken seriously if no deal emerges next summer.

Gallardo makes headlines, but there has thus far been no substance to any of his major reveals over the past two years.