Lionel Messi fails in bid to convince key Barcelona duo to stay at Nou Camp

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Barcelona remain on course for a successful season this year, but Lionel Messi has reportedly fallen short in his bid to help convince two key players to stay.

The Catalan giants are 11 points clear at the top of the La Liga table with just seven games remaining, while they will battle it out in the Copa del Rey final next month too.

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Their disappointing exit from the Champions League has tarnished the season somewhat, but ultimately, Ernesto Valverde still has the opportunity to oversee a successful first year in charge.

Doubts remain over the futures of key players though, with Don Balon, as re-reported by The Express, suggesting that Andres Iniesta and Samuel Umtiti are set to leave the Nou Camp this summer, despite the best efforts of Messi to convince them otherwise.

As noted by BBC Sport last month, Iniesta has already insisted that he will make a decision on his future at the end of April, with either a prolonged stay at Barcelona or a potentially lucrative move to China being the two options on the table.

Given his age and declining influence on the team, that is arguably not such a huge blow, albeit he is a club legend and will be sorely missed at Barcelona if he were to leave.

However, given the lack of depth behind him and Gerard Pique, losing Umtiti this summer would be a disaster for Barcelona as they’d be left very short in that department.

The Frenchman has established a strong partnership with Pique, as Barca have conceded just 16 goals in 31 league games this season, giving them the second best defensive record.

With an inexperienced Yerry Mina and an ageing stalwart in Thomas Vermaelen as back-up options, it will be a setback if he leaves, and as per this report, not even Messi has been able to to persuade either to stay for now.

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