Barcelona VP Jordi Cardoner Talks Possible Lionel Messi Exit, Neymar Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2019

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, and Neymar, right, stand on the field during a break in the action during the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match against Real Madrid, Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Barcelona vice-president Jordi Cardoner has said Lionel Messi will be able to leave the club when he chooses amid recent revelations regarding the player's contract.

As part of his terms with the Blaugrana, it's been reported that Messi would be able to walk away from the Camp Nou club for free at the end of each season. The current deal the Argentina international has expires at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

Cardoner confirmed that stipulation is in place, although he played down any fear about the club's iconic forward moving on, per Marca's C. Navarro:

"We are calm, and there is a lot of positivity, especially in the dressing room. Leo will do what he thinks is fit, but Leo's contract is very special because he is who he is.

"It's a concession made to him and other players who deserve it. He can enter and leave the club when he sees fit. I'd love for him to stay for as long as he wants to play for our team."

Although Cardoner has said he is content with Messi's situation, according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Adam Payne of the Daily Mirror), Barcelona are planning to offer the 32-year-old a fresh deal that would be the equivalent of a lifelong contract.

Messi's Barcelona team-mate Gerard Pique said he's aware of the fact Messi can unilaterally rescind his contract with the club:

Cardoner was also quizzed on Barcelona's summer interest in former player Neymar.

Prior to the new season, the Blaugrana were constantly linked with a move for the Paris Saint-Germain forward, who left the Camp Nou for a world-record fee in 2017. However, the two clubs were not able to agree a transfer, meaning Neymar will remain in the French capital until January at least.

Cardoner was non-committal when asked if the La Liga outfit will make another move for the Brazilian.

"He was happy here," he said. "Most, if not all the players are happy here. That chapter is in the past, and we will wait for things to happen [in the future], but we are competing, La Liga has already started, and it's a chapter that we are not dealing with right now."

Neymar enjoyed plenty of success during his stint at Barcelona, winning the UEFA Champions League, two La Liga titles and the Copa del Rey on three occasions.

He also enjoyed an excellent linkup with Messi and Luis Suarez:

Following on from the summer transfer saga, Neymar has not played a competitive game for PSG in the 2019-20 season. The forward has featured twice for Brazil during the international break, though, netting in the 2-2 draw with Colombia on Friday.

Messi has also been sidelined early in the season due to injury. The recent international break hasn't given him enough time to fully recover from his calf problem, either, with the forward set to miss Saturday's La Liga showdown with Valencia.  

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