BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lionel Messi’s father and agent met Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Wednesday to discuss the player’s wish to leave the club but the talks ended in stalemate, Spanish media reported.
Earlier, Jorge Messi said it would be “difficult” for his son to remain with Barcelona, the only club he has ever played for professionally.
The meeting lasted one-and-a-half hours and was held in a cordial atmosphere, according to media reports including sports dailies Marca and Mundo Deportivo. They said Bartomeu sees Messi as a key part of Barca’s plans to rebuild under new coach Ronald Koeman. There was no comment from the club.
Six-times world player of the year Messi, unhappy at his team’s failure to win any silverware last season and humiliated by an 8-2 Champions League thrashing by Bayern Munich, told the club last week that he wanted to leave.
The Argentine insists he has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave on a free transfer - a claim disputed by Barcelona and La Liga, who say he can only leave if a rival club is willing to pay a 700 million euro ($830.20 million) buyout clause.
“I don’t know, I know nothing,” Messi’s father told Spanish TV channel Cuatro after flying in on a private jet.
Pressed if it would be hard for him to remain, he said “yes”, and asked how he sees Messi’s future at Barcelona, he replied “difficult, difficult”.
Messi missed a medical on Sunday and did not show up on Monday for the first training session of the season.
Reporting by Joan Faus, Luis Felipe Castilleja and Nacho Doce; Writing by Joan Faus and Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ed Osmond
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