20:28 GMT18 September 2020
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    Previously speculation has been rife that Argentine footballer Lionel Messi, whose contract with Barcelona expires in 2021, was not planning on re-signing over reported “internal squabbles” at the club.

    FC Barcelona’s forward Lionel Messi is reportedly one step closer to leaving the club, according to COPE.

    ​The iconic Argentine footballer, winner of a record six Ballon d'Or awards, is cited as barely having been able to contain his frustration after the relentless 8-2 battering Barcelona received at the hands of on-fire Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on 14 August in the Champions League quarterfinal at Luz stadium in Lisbon.

    Messi is claimed to be urging drastic changes at the club, with coach Quique Setien sacked and president of FC Barcelona Josep Maria Bartomeu to resign, otherwise the striker might not re-sign once his contract expires at the end of June 2021.

    ​The 33-year-old Argentinian star has been with the Barcelona team since his youth, initially joining the ranks of Barca’s division of under-14 players in the early 2000s.

    Rumours have been floated before that Lionel Messi was not planning on extending his current contract with FC Barcelona over internal strife within the club and “permanent leaks”.

    However, the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu was cited by Catalan radio station Rac1 as saying FC Barcelona has “the obligation to re-sign” its forward Messi following the expiration of his contract in 2021.

    Barca's president also told the Spanish network Movistar that the La Liga club’s forward would finish his football career with Barcelona, citing Messi’s own words.

    “I'm not going to explain the details because we are focused on the competition and we are negotiating with many players, but Messi has explained to us that he wants to stay and so we're going to enjoy him for much longer,” Bartomeu was quoted as saying.

    Messi himself is yet to publicly address the speculation regarding his possible refusal to re-sign with the club next season.

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    Tags:
    Bayern Munich, Champions League, Champions League, FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi
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