Lionel Messi transfer latest as contract expires with Barcelona
Lionel Messi transfer latest as contract expires with Barcelona

Lionel Messi is now a free agent and Barcelona president Joan Laporta remains confident that he won’t be heading elsewhere... despite the club's financial "complications".

The Argentine superstar is officially a free agent after his Barcelona contract expired at midnight on Wednesday.

Messi's Next Clubs and Transfer Rumours: Manchester City, PSG

Now, Messi is indisputably out of contract, and is free to sign for any club in the world, should he wish.

Lionel Messi's decsion on his future could have an impact on transfers made across Europe this summer

Both Manchester City and PSG have been keen to snap up the 34-year-old, but in recent months - following the exit of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s board and the return of Laporta - it has looked increasingly likely that he will continue his career in Catalunya.

Major League Soccer all touted as possible next destinations of Messi. Reports have claimed he could then join David Beckham Stateside in his MLS team, Inter Miami, and wind down his career in the United States.

The 34-year-old is currently on international duty with Argentina at the Copa America and has spent the last year mulling over whether to pen a new contract.

Argentina play Ecuador in their Copa America quarter-final on Saturday with Messi desperate to win his first major international trophy.

For a week or so, Man City dared to dream that they could sign Messi after the Argentine publicly declared his ambition to leave the Nou Camp. Only the prospect of a costly legal battle over the interpretation of his contract saw him remain at Barcelona, and the following season won't have done much to change his mind, on the pitch at least.

Messi remain at Barcelona?

Messi intends to remain at Camp Nou and is eager to sign a new two-year contract with the club.

Messi is currently at the Copa America, but Barcelona are confident they will be able to agree a deal with him on reduced terms. La Liga president Javier Tebas has warned Barca they may not be able to register Messi's new deal if they don't make cutbacks.

Joan Laporta has been working hard to convince Messi to renew and the new club president wanted to sign a contract with the Argentine before the most recent one expired, but it wasn't to be.

This doesn't mean Messi is leaving the club, as those in charge at the Camp Nou believe he will put pen to paper on a new deal and continue to wear the blue and red colours. At this moment in time, though, Messi is not a Barcelona player.

What are the financial problems facing Barca?

The club's financial problems prevented a new deal from being signed before the June 30 expiry date. The relationship between Laporta and Messi's father is very good, but there are several aspects of the new contract that still need to be ironed out. An agreement could be reached soon, perhaps in a few days, but it hasn't been established as of yet.

Messi’s last deal was worth a reported £492 million over four seasons, but Barcelona’s gross debt has rocketed to around £857 million.

With the club in £1bn worth of debt, they have been able to bring in free agents - Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia - but must sell; Junior Firpo is expected to join Leeds and other bit-part players are being moved on.

What has Laporta said?

Certainly, that is what Laporta himself believes, telling El Transistor on Wednesday night: "We want Messi to stay and Leo wants to stay, everything is on track.


"We have the issue of fair play, we are in the process of finding the best solution for both parties."

For his part, Messi wants to remain but it's not all agreed yet.

Barcelona insider Reshad Rahman claims Messi is now open to staying and has already verbally agreed to renew his contract at the Nou Camp.

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