Lionel Messi won’t decide Barcelona future until season’s over as Manchester City, PSG eye Argentine superstar
Lionel Messi says he will not negotiate with any suitors until the end of the season as Barcelona battle to retain their brightest star.
Messi’s contract with the Spanish giants expires at the end of the season with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain both hoping they can persuade the greatest player of his generation to end his near-20 year association with Barcelona.
The Spanish giants have found themselves in turmoil on and off the pitch in recent years with Messi’s decision to submit a transfer request following last season’s Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich a damning indictment of the direction of a club that is eight points off the top in La Liga.
However Ronald Koeman’s side remain in the mix in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, a trophy which they and Messi have not lifted until 2015. Ending that drought could convince the Argentine to stay as he insists he will wait to see how the remainder of this season plays out before committing his future.
“I will not negotiate with other clubs,” Messi said in an interview with La Sexta. “I will wait for the season to end and in June I will decide.
“I can’t say what I will do because I don’t know either… If I leave, I would like to leave in the best way and later return to contribute to the club. Barcelona is bigger than any player.”
Messi submitted a ‘burofax’, a certified legal document, to the Barcelona hierarchy last summer informing them that he intended to activate an option he had to release himself from his contract for free. Ultimately the Argentine opted to change his mind but he has not signed an extension with the club and will be out of contract on June 30.
The 33-year-old had grown disillusioned with a squad that had atrophied around him and in particular a hierarchy, led by the now former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, that had failed to invest shrewdly in the club and its playing staff.
With their finances in turmoil it could be challenging to give Messi the supporting cast he needs – in the summer they were unable to unlock the finances to sign either Memphis Depay or Eric Garcia – and the Argentine’s hope of reuniting with Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar at the Camp Nou look slim indeed.
“I don’t want to position myself with a presidential candidate,” Messi said ahead of next month’s election. “I want someone who returns the club to where it belongs to win.
“It will be difficult to bring players. There is no money. You have to bring important players.
“Bringing Neymar would be very expensive. It will be a difficult situation for the new president, he must be intelligent.”
Messi also revealed his “dream” of eventually playing in the United States, though it is unlikely that that would be his next move should he remain at the peak of his powers.