Lionel Messi staying at Barcelona is ‘difficult’, says father and agent Jorge

Jorge Messi landed in the city on Wednesday morning, having departed on a private plane from Rosario the previous evening, ahead of meeting club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to discuss Messi’s future.

Messi has told Barcelona, via his lawyers, that he has activated a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for free before the 2020-21 season.

The club disputed the claim saying the clause expired on June 10, a position backed by LaLiga, meaning paying his €700million (£632m) release clause is the only way to trigger a transfer.

“I don’t know, I know nothing,” Messi’s father told Spanish TV channel Cuatro when asked if the 33-year-old would leave the only club he has played for professionally.

But when 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.”

He dodged questions on whether Manchester City would be a good option for his son. A move to Manchester City would allow Messi to link up with his former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

“I don’t know, there’s nothing yet,” he said, adding he had not had any discussions with Guardiola, who enjoyed trophy-laden years as Barcelona manager with Messi in his pomp.

Messi did not show up on Monday for the first training session of the season under new coach Ronald Koeman.

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