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Report: Lionel Messi Ends Barcelona Contract Talks, Prepared to Leave in 2021

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2020

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 30: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona runs with the ball during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on June 30, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Lionel Messi is planning to leave Barcelona when his contract expires in 2021, according to Manu Carreno of Cadena Ser (via Santi Gimenez of AS).

The superstar has apparently halted all talks with the club about renewing his contract after initial discussions appeared to be going well between his father and Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Among the reported concerns from Messi, he believes "certain sections of the club always blame him for everything that goes wrong at the Camp Nou," per Gimenez.

According to Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden of ESPN, Messi felt he was incorrectly blamed for the firing of Ernesto Valverde. After sporting director Eric Abidal indicated some unnamed players weren't happy with Valverde, Messi hit back with a message on Instagram.

"When things don't go well on the pitch, the players are the first ones to recognise as much," he wrote. "Those in the sporting department at the club should also take responsibility for their actions and decisions."

Messi has put together an incredible career at Barcelona, winning the Ballon d'Or six times. He scored his 700th career goal Tuesday in a draw against Atletico Madrid:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Messi’s 700th career goal was a panenka. Ice cold ❄️ (via @beINSPORTS_EN) https://t.co/FBM3e36P43

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Even at 33, he remains an elite player with 22 goals and 17 assists in La Liga this season, leading the league in each category.

His individual production hasn't been enough to carry Barcelona, however, as the club sits four points behind Real Madrid for first place in the table.

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