30 June 2021 By Grace Namiji
Lionel Messi will become a free agent on Thursday as an impasse continues over his new Barcelona contract.
Talks are ongoing between parties as Messi’s contract renewal is the priority of president Joan Laporta.
Barcelona want the 34-year-old to sign a new two year deal and hoped to have it in place for the start of July. However, Sportsmail understands that is looking unlikely with negotiations set to run into next week.
Though Barcelona are rushing to get an agreement there are still some details that need to be put in place for Messi’s father and agent Jorge to be fully satisfied.
Other clubs are monitoring developments but Messi is still expected to reach agreement with Barcelona who need to lose £172m from their wage bill to keep him and meet La Liga’s financial fair play requirements.
Messi has expressed a desire to play in the MLS before he retires though he is open to another challenge before then.
The Barcelona captain and talisman’s future has been hanging in the balance ever since he told the club by fax of his desire to leave last summer.
The Catalans managed to convince Messi to stay for another season, and while they won the Copa del Rey in Ronald Koeman’s debut campaign last term, they finished behind LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid and exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage.
Barcelona now find themselves cash-strapped as they try to cope with the financial issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, although they have brought in some new faces already.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, Lyon forward Memphis Depay and City defender Eric Garcia will be arriving on free transfers and Barca also triggered Real Betis star Emerson Royal’s £7.8million release clause.
Messi, who has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, is currently on international duty with Argentina at the Copa America and equalled Javier Mascherano’s record of 147 matches for his country last week.