Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has given an in-depth interview and addressed both Lionel Messi and Neymar among many other topics.
As noted by The Sun, a clause in Messi’s contract has come to light which would seemingly give him the freedom to leave the Catalan giants on a free transfer next summer.
Given his ongoing influence and importance to the club, that would undoubtedly be a disaster if he were to walk away, as he continues to lead their charge for more major trophies.
However, although Bartomeu has confirmed that the clause is indeed in the contract, he has calmed any potential fears that Barcelona fans have over an exit as he doesn’t believe Messi will choose to exercise the clause any time soon.
Further, he has reiterated that he believes the 32-year-old has earned the right to have that option like other club legends in recent years.
“Messi has a contract that we signed two years ago, and that is for four years. Before the last season of that deal, 2020-21, he can leave Barça, leave football or play wherever he wants,” he is quoted as telling Barca TV by Sport.
“Iniesta, Xavi and Puyol also had these clauses. We don’t have to worry about these players and Leo Messi.
“I doubt he wants to play for another club, but they have gained freedom over their future. It is our way of dealing and I have no doubt that he will want to continue until 2021 and we hope for one more year too.”
While that seems to have cleared up the Messi situation, Bartomeu also commented on their pursuit of former superstar Neymar, and has hinted that they could now wait until next summer to try again as he ruled out a January swoop.
“Neymar is currently ruled out [in January],” he added, as per Mundo Deportivo. “But in January-February, during planning, we will speak again. PSG don’t want to sell their good players because we all want to have the good players.
“There was more than one club. At least three clubs, but I also know that Neymar said that if he left it was to sign for Barça.”
Time will tell if they have any success trying next summer, as although it seems as though both Barcelona and Neymar are set on a reunion at some point, if there is no agreement with PSG, then a deal simply won’t happen.