Barcelona have reportedly been left stunned after Lionel Messi turned down a renewal offer from the club, according to claims in Spain.
Marca report that the Argentine international informed the club in July that he didn’t want to renew, but instead he would fulfil his contract until 2018 and then make a decision on his future.
Unsurprisingly, the club hope that he will reconsider his stance and commit his long-term future before it becomes a bigger issue for them.
It seems as though there may well be some problems already though, as Marca claim that Messi told his father to inform the club of his intentions, snubbing the idea of telling them himself.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu is said to have responded in a calm manner but urged him to think about signing an extension, although the two parties haven’t discussed it since.
Further, it’s added that the recent tax fraud legal issues that the 29-year-old had was a key reason behind the decision, and so there may well be more to the story.
Nevertheless, it’s difficult to not see Messi agree a new deal with the Catalan giants, the club he joined in 2001 and for whom he has gone on to score 472 goals in 547 appearances in all competitions.
With countless trophies to show for his efforts and as he continues to cement his legacy and popularity with the club’s supporters, it would seem illogical for him to leave the Nou Camp for any other reason other than a desire to return to Argentina to see out his playing days.
However, if there is genuine discord between the two parties, then perhaps there is a real chance for another European heavyweight to prise him away from the La Liga champions.