Lionel Messi remains determined to leave Barcelona as his father, Jorge, attempts to negotiate a peaceful exit with the club’s board.
Jorge told journalists on Wednesday that it is “very difficult” for his son to remain at Barça, although the Spanish giants remain insistent that any club wishing to secure the 33-year-old’s signature must pay his €700 million release clause.
Fresh reports from Argentina’s TyC Sports - per Football Espana - claim Messi is now ’90 per cent’ likely to stay at Camp Nou until 2021 as his employers stand in the way.
Barça want Messi to sign a two-year contract extension, but the player has no desire to renew his current deal.
His preference would be to leave the club as soon as possible in order to reunite with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
However, The Telegraph are reporting that a bid of around €100 million - the same price Juventus paid Real Madrid for a 33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018 - may be enough for City to sign Messi.
If Messi does leave ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, how would that make Real Madrid’s players feel?
Messi has caused them so much pain over the past 16 years. Surely they’d be delighted to see the legendary forward leave La Liga?
Sergio Ramos, Madrid’s longest-serving player, was asked for his thoughts on the Messi saga during a press conference on Wednesday.
And the Spanish defender gave a very honest response.
"He's earned the right to decide his future,” Ramos is quoted as saying by Marca, “but I don't know if it's the best way."
He added: “For Spanish football, for Barcelona and for us, we'd like him to stay.
"Leo makes the Spanish league, his team and the Clasicos better.
"You always like beating the best and he's one of the best in the world."
Despite the fact Messi has caused Madrid so much trouble over the years, Ramos still wants the Argentina international to stay at Barça.
He knows La Liga will be a considerably weaker and less popular league without Messi.
However, he does state his belief that Messi may not have handled the situation in the best way possible.
And his final line is also quite interesting: "You always like beating the best and he's one of the best in the world.”
Make of that what you will.
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