Barcelona are planning to sell Lionel Messi for a world-record €250m fee by mid-2015, according to Sunday Times journalist Duncan Castles.
The decision has been taken by Barcelona's current president, Sandro Rosell, who believes the club will benefit by selling the four-time Ballon d'Or winner at his peak.
Messi, who turns 27 this year, is arguably the best footballer of his generation - but the prolific forward has struggled with injuries over the last 12 months.
Castles also reports that Messi's superstar status has caused internal problems with coaches and players at the Camp Nou, while the Argentina international's wage demands have also become astronomic as he seeks parity with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who earns €21m a year after tax at the Bernabeu.
Messi also hit back angrily at Barcelona vice-president Javier Faus's statement that the club "do not have to improve a contract every six months", increasing speculation that all is not well between him and the club.
"Mr. Faus is a person who knows nothing about football and he wants to run Barcelona as if it were a company, and it is not," Messi, speaking last month, responded.
"Barcelona is one of the biggest clubs in the world and deserves to be represented by the best managers as well. And apart from that, I remind you that neither I nor anyone in my circle has ever asked for either an increase or a contract renewal. And he knows that very well."
Messi has been out of action for the last five weeks with a hamstring injury, but he has now been given the green light to return to action.
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