Reports in Spanish publication Marca are claiming that Lionel Messi rejected a new deal with Barcelona over the summer, adding fuel to the fire that one of the world's best players could be on the move soon.
The story states that the 29-year-old knocked back the offer of a new deal in July, with one of the key reasons behind his rationale being the impending court case he faced for tax fraud.
And while Marca claim that Messi has every intention of seeing out his current deal – which runs until 2018 – Barca are hoping that he will reconsider his stance and commit his future beyond that date.
It is said that Messi had been vacationing with his family on a yacht during the off-season when he received the offer, but rather than turning it down directly, he spoke to the club through his father and a number of external advisors, who then delivered the message.
Ouch! Talk about ghosting...
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu received the news with "understandable shock" but has since opted to act calm and will instead look for solutions.
The club are hoping to restart negotiations in the near future, but there can be no guarantees as to what he will decide to do.
However, one of the main problems Barcelona will face is that they apparently can't afford his new contract.
A recent article in AS stated that due to the Financial Fair Play regulations that are currently placed on the club they are unable to make an increase on his £800,000-per-week salary.
This will lead the club to search for alternative incentives to sweeten the deal and change his mind.
Messi is still being tentatively linked with a move to Manchester City, who are believed to be one of the few clubs in world football that would be able to afford him.
As well as being able to match his current salary, they would also offer him the opportunity to link back up with former coach Pep Guardiola.
Whatever happens, there will undoubtedly be some heavy interest in the ongoing situation at the Camp Nou until an outcome is reached.
Since making his breakthrough as a teenager during the 2004-05 season, he has gone on to contribute a stunning total of 469 goals in 545 appearances, helping the side to lift eight La Liga titles, four Copa Del Rey titles, seven Supercopa de España's, and four Champions Leagues, amongst a host of others.
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