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Report: Lionel Messi's Dad Meets with Barcelona, Transfer Talks End in Stalemate

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2020

A poster with the face of Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi is displayed at a F.C. Barcelona store in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Barcelona is banking on a face-to-face meeting with Lionel Messi to try to convince him to stay. Talks with Messi’s father-agent are expected this week in Barcelona but the club also hopes to sit down with the player himself.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Lionel Messi still reportedly wants out of Barcelona.

According to Rodrigo Faez and Moises Llorens of ESPN, "the face-to-face meeting between Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Jorge Messi ended in a stalemate on Wednesday as Lionel Messi continues to look for a way out of the club, sources told ESPN."

Messi's father Jorge is also his representative. 

And so the stalemate continues. Messi believes he should be allowed to leave on a free transfer after informing Barcelona he wants to leave, exercising a clause in his contract. Essentially, every year Messi can leave on a free if he exercises that clause before the end of the season. He did not report for the team's preseason training. 

Barcelona has maintained that he had a fixed date to inform them (that date has varied between May 31 and June 10) and let them know after that date. The club reportedly is maintaining he cannot leave on a free and has a €700 million release clause that will need to be paid for him to depart. 

La Liga has sided with Barcelona on the matter, with a potential clash in the courts still on the table. 

Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano

Messi also after La Liga statement is not going to chance his mind. He wants to leave and to start a new chapter. Barcelona told him again they won’t let Leo go for free to Manchester City - and La Liga position is part of their strategy. The saga is on. 🚨🇦🇷 #Messi #FCB #MCFC

Guillem Balague @GuillemBalague

Messi can fight the 10th June clause (saying that the season ended 23 Agust and not 1st June as predicted before pandemic), seat down with Barcelona and negotiate an exit (which would start happening this week) or eventually can tore up the contract if no agreement.

Guillem Balague @GuillemBalague

Reasons for Barto to insist on Messi staying. The coach wants him (when Koeman asked Barto, ‘do I have Messi’, president said, ‘yes’. Next day Jorge Messi rang Barto to tell him again that his son wants to go). Koeman has suggested that he’s make a strong team without Messi too

Guillem Balague @GuillemBalague

My prediction, a risky thing to do with so many variables: we are in phase 1 where both show their cards from extreme positions. With the trip of Jorge Messi, we enter negotiating phase. Finally we would reach, I think, agreement even if Barcelona takes Messi to court

The other option, of course, is that Barcelona could back off the €700 million release clause and negotiate a transfer fee with another club, likely Manchester City, for far less money. Faez and Llorens reported that "Man City are working on a deal for Messi and are working on one formula that would see him sign for the Premier League side before ending his career with partner club New York City FC in Major League Soccer."

In such a scenario Barcelona move on from a club legend without the terrible press of a long and protracted breakup, the sort of scenario other superstar players would surely monitor closely and consider before doing business with Barca. 

That seems the most likely outcome. Messi returning to Barcelona, at this point, seems incredibly unlikely. Even if Barcelona wins in the courts and stubbornly refuses to sell for anything less than the €700 million release clause, keeping an unhappy Messi—arguably the most influential figure at the club, and certainly the most visible and popular—is a recipe for an extremely dysfunctional year, only to lose him on a free in a year anyway. 

Messi's time with the Catalan club looks to be over. It's simply a matter of what Barcelona recoups in his sale, and where the greatest player in the history of the sport winds up. 

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