Lionel Messi contract latest: Why the superstar STILL hasn’t signed his new Barcelona deal… and he’s free to talk to Premier League clubs in January

The latest wave of pressure on Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu to resign has left Lionel Messi’s long-awaited new contract still hanging in the balance.

Barcelona continue to insist there is no chance of Messi leaving the club for nothing at the end of the season despite him not having signed his new contract with only three months remaining before he could talk to other clubs, including the Premier League sides. Big-spending teams such as PSG and Manchester City would no doubt be at the front of the queue.

Fans group Manifest Blaugrana called for Bartomeu’s resignation on Tuesday saying he had ‘betrayed the essence’ of the club by refusing to call the game against Las Palmas off on Sunday – amid violence and demonstrations as people attempted to vote on whether Catalonia should become an independent nation – instead playing it behind closed doors.

Lionel Messi’s long-awaited new contract at Barcelona is still hanging in the balance

Pressure on Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu to resign has left Messi’s future uncertain

Barcelona would have lost six points and been fined €12,000 (£10,700) had they not fulfilled the fixture but Manifest Blaugrana said that would have been a ‘small price to pay for the dignity of the club’.

It was the players and not the president who insisted the game be played, but that has not got Bartomeu off the hook, and while his future remains uncertain it seems unlikely that Messi will sign.

Bartomeu has claimed that Messi’s new deal, that runs until 2021, has been signed by Messi’s dad Jorge and by his brother Rodrigo, who is also the head of the player’s foundation.

However fans want to see the man himself put pen to paper and Sportsmail understands that while Bartomeu remains confident it will happen soon, Messi continues to be concerned over the timing of his photograph shaking hands with the president.


Pressure increased when Barca played Las Palmas behind closed doors amid political unrest

Bartomeu’s resignation is demanded by fans saying he has ‘betrayed the essence’ of the club

Such an image will not only confirm he remains at the club for four more years, it will also be a vindication of the president and with Bartomeu still under pressure from all sides, there remains a certain degree of reluctance from Messi.

Anti-Bartomeu graffiti has been daubed on the walls of various buildings around the Nou Camp stadium, and supporters locked out of Sunday’s game after a last-minute decision to play the match behind closed doors chanted for him to resign.

A vote of no-confidence against Bartomeu has failed to gather the necessary number of signatures — largely because Barcelona have flown out of the blocks in La Liga and in the Champions League, and have a 100 per cent record — but the protest petition still managed to collect 12,500 signatures; short of the 16,570 needed to force elections but a major statement against the board nevertheless.

While Bartomeu is in position, Messi is unlikely to back him up by agreeing a new contract

Joan Laporta, the former Barcelona president, remains a charismatic figure in the city and former Barca captain Xavi said last month: ‘With Laporta in charge the players were happier.’

In an interview in June, Sportsmail asked Laporta if he would come back as president. He replied: ‘These people should resign now because they have made the club a hostage to intoxication, lies and manipulation. I would definitely stand.’

Laporta has always had an excellent relationship with Messi’s dad Jorge and if Laporta’s return becomes a real possibility, then the player could wait for him to come back to the presidency to officially commit his future to the club.

If things remain as they currently stand, Messi could talk to Premier League clubs in January

Nguồn: Daily Mail

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