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Josep Maria Bartomeu 'will only sit down with Lionel Messi to discuss new deal'

Bartomeu 'will only sit down with Messi to discuss new contract'
© Reuters
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu will reportedly only hold fresh talks with wantaway talisman Lionel Messi if he is willing to sign a new contract at the club.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu will reportedly only sit down for talks with Lionel Messi in order to discuss a new contract.

The club's captain, talisman and greatest ever player handed in a transfer request earlier this week and appears determined to end his 19-year association with Barcelona during the current window.

Bartomeu has reportedly offered to resign if it means that the club can keep hold of Messi, who is understood to have requested a meeting with the hierarchy to discuss the situation.

However, Spanish outlet Sport claims that Bartomeu will only agree to a sit-down if Messi is willing to talk about performing a U-turn and signing a new contract, rather than figuring out a way for him to leave the club.

The 33-year-old is arguing that a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for free this summer should have been extended in line with the prolonged season, whereas Barcelona are steadfast in their belief that the clause expired in June.

Messi has a €700m (£624.2m) release clause in his current deal at Camp Nou, which runs until next year, and Barca are still hoping to shape their Ronald Koeman-led rebuild around the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Inter Milan and Chelsea are among the clubs that have been linked with a move for Messi.


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Barcelona's Lionel Messi pictured in August 2020
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