05:45 GMT14 June 2021
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    Lionel Messi is still to confirm if he will stay at Barcelona despite his contract expiring on 30 June. Last summer the Argentine forward attempted to leave the Spanish club as a free agent, but was forced to back down as he did not want to go to court to force the move, opting to stay out his campaign.

    Debt-riddled FC Barcelona is reportedly prepared to sacrifice its Argentine icon Lionel Messi in order to scoop up Erling Haaland. Landing the Norwegian striker for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund is said to be the Catalan giants’ top priority this summer.

    President Joan Laporta is suggested as staking on Haaland as the player who can become the focal figure within Barca’s ranks after Messi, who turns 34 next month, eventually bows out, after finishing up an illustrious career.

    Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - Borussia Dortmund v Sevilla - Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany - March 9, 2021
    © REUTERS / LEON KUEGELER
    Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - Borussia Dortmund v Sevilla - Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany - March 9, 2021

    While talks are believed to be underway between Messi and the club regarding his future after the contract expires on 30 June, this is not touted as the most pressing task at hand.

    “Haaland is the future, Messi is almost the past,” a source was quoted by SunSport as saying.

    Desperate to lure to the Nou Camp the prolific goal scorer who has earned himself the nickname, “The Terminator” from fans, Laporta is reportedly unfazed by the £150m Dortmund valuation.

    He is said to be looking at various options to find a deal that would persuade the Bundesliga club to sell the 20-year-old, who recently helped his club win a DFB Pokal trophy.

    ​Many other clubs that have been eying the wonderkid have reportedly been put off by the asking price and due to the fact that money is tight amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Although Barcelona itself has reportedly run up debts worth a staggering over £1 billion, the fee for Haaland could ostensibly be spread out over the period of a contract, which could be up to five years. Accordingly, the club could hope to secure the credit for a transfer like that.

    Furthermore, even if a deal is hammered out to extend Lionel Messi’s tenure with Barca, where he has spent his entire professional career, the report claims the Argentinian would have to sacrifice close to half his current wage.

    Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - 2020/21 Final - FC Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao - Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla, Seville, Spain - April 17, 2021 FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi and teammates celebrate winning the Copa del Rey with the trophy
    © REUTERS / MARCELO DEL POZO
    Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - 2020/21 Final - FC Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao - Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla, Seville, Spain - April 17, 2021 FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi and teammates celebrate winning the Copa del Rey with the trophy

    Last year, after a rocky season marred by an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich that snuffed Barca’s Champions League title hopes, the Argentine superstar voiced his desire to leave, but was unable to, as the-then president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted that a clause in his contract barred him from doing so.

    Ever since, Messi's career at FC Barcelona has been a matter of scrutiny and speculations by sports media and fans.

     

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    Tags:
    Erling Haaland, FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi, Lionel Messi
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