Lionel Messi refused to sign his new Barcelona contract until the Catalan club agreed to not raise his buyout clause above the current €250million.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Messi was not thinking of leaving the club and is not interested in leaving but felt he should err on the side of caution over the clause.

Messi’s current contract stipulates a bid of €250million would force Barcelona to accept and the report says Camp Nou officials were keen to raise it with the number of new mega-rich owners in football increasing.

Barça feared one of these owners may be tempted to meet the price, despite its enormity, to land the world’s best player.

Marca claim Messi was opposed to a higher clause and would not budge from his stance that €250million was high enough.

It says this was not out of a desire or wish for an Oligarch or Gulf billionaire to meet it, but an acknowledgement from the Argentina star that you never know what the future may hold.

The report also claims Messi wanted a pay rise after recent tax reforms implemented by the Spanish government meant he would be earning €1million less a year.

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