Report: Lionel Messi's Dad Meets with Barcelona, Transfer Talks End in Stalemate

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona Looks on during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between SSC Napoli and FC Barcelona at Stadio San Paolo on February 25, 2020 in Naples, Italy.

Lionel Messi still reportedly wants out of Barcelona.

According to Rodrigo Faez and Moises Llorens of ESPN, "the face-to-face meeting between Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Jorge Messi ended in a stalemate on Wednesday as Lionel Messi continues to look for a way out of the club, sources told ESPN."

Messi's father Jorge is also his representative. 

And so the stalemate continues. Messi believes he should be allowed to leave on a free transfer after informing Barcelona he wants to leave, exercising a clause in his contract. 

Essentially, every year Messi can leave on a free if he exercises that clause before the end of the season. He did not report for the team's preseason training. 

Barcelona has maintained that he had a fixed date to inform them (that date has varied between May 31 and June 10) and let them know after that date. 

The club reportedly is maintaining he cannot leave on a free and has a €700 million release clause that will need to be paid for him to depart. 

La Liga has sided with Barcelona on the matter, with a potential clash in the courts still on the table. 

The other option, of course, is that Barcelona could back off the €700 million release clause and negotiate a transfer fee with another club, likely Manchester City, for far less money. 

Faez and Llorens reported that "Man City are working on a deal for Messi and are working on one formula that would see him sign for the Premier League side before ending his career with partner club New York City FC in Major League Soccer."

In such a scenario Barcelona move on from a club legend without the terrible press of a long and protracted breakup, the sort of scenario other superstar players would surely monitor closely and consider before doing business with Barca. 

That seems the most likely outcome. Messi returning to Barcelona, at this point, seems incredibly unlikely. 

Even if Barcelona wins in the courts and stubbornly refuses to sell for anything less than the €700 million release clause, keeping an unhappy Messi—arguably the most influential figure at the club, and certainly the most visible and popular—is a recipe for an extremely dysfunctional year, only to lose him on a free in a year anyway. 

Messi's time with the Catalan club looks to be over. It's simply a matter of what Barcelona recoups in his sale, and where the greatest player in the history of the sport winds up.
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