Lionel Messi has yet to make a decision on his FC Barcelona future and is waiting to see how the rest of the season plays out, according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balagué.
According to Insider, Messi, who has been with Barcelona since he was 12 years old, shocked the footballing world in August by declaring his intention to leave the Camp Nou by way of a transfer request.
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Though he ultimately decided to stay amid a dispute over his contract, the Argentine is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal and is free to leave the club this summer.
Balague says whether the 33-year-old stays or goes hangs in the balance, but that he probably won’t make a decision until after the end of the 2021 season.
“Messi hasn’t decided, which is interesting because a lot of people assume that he’s definitely, definitely going and that hasn’t happened yet,” the Spaniard told Insider at a celebration of La Liga’s 90th birthday on Thursday.
“A lot of it will depend on what happens this season. If you look back, Barcelona hasn’t defeated Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, or Sevilla since 2019, which perhaps suggests they have dropped too far down to be a team that is competitive.
“But, the way [this season] is going, it could actually end up completely different. If it ends up well, then you may Messi deciding to stay.”
Barca endured a difficult start to the season under new manager Ronald Koeman, losing four and drawing two of its opening 10 La Liga games.
Messi is also a target for Paris Saint-Germain and he is weighing up options, with his Barca contract expiring in July. Premier League leader Manchester City is, however, not prepared to match the terms it proposed back in August, believing the financial climate has changed and also taking into account he is another year along in his career. The club has slashed its offer for the Barcelona star to £430million.
In an interview with Goal recently, Brazillian football legend Rivaldo said that Messi’s Barcelona exit somewhat seems inevitable. “I want Messi to stay at Barcelona but I understand why he’d want to leave at the moment when the club is not guaranteeing him good chances of fighting for important titles regularly,” he said. “He can’t keep taking responsibility for the team on his own. Last summer, he saw Luis Suarez leave in an incomprehensible transfer that has made Atletico Madrid stronger. I believe he will leave the club at the end of season.”