Lionel Messi’s future at Barcelona has taken a fresh twist with news that Manchester City could offer the 33-year-old a pre-contract in January.
The Argentine is out of contract at the end of the season and available to talk with other clubs in the New Year. According to Mike McGrath at The Telegraph, Manchester City could offer the Barca captain a pre-contract as Messi is not due to discuss his future at the Camp Nou until “later in the season.”
Manchester City tried to land Messi in the summer but the Argentina international was unable to find a way out of Barcelona. The forward subsequently confirmed he did want to leave in an interview with Goal’s Ruben Uria but it’s unknown if he is still planning a departure.
Messi told Uria that former president Josep Maria Bartomeu “did not keep his word” when it came to letting him leave at the end of the 2019-20 season. However, Bartomeu has since resigned from his position and a new president is set to be appointed.
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Koeman Backs Messi
Manager Ronald Koeman was asked about Setien’s comments on Tuesday in a press conference and said he did not agree with his predecessor’s remarks about his captain, as reported by Sport.
I respect his opinion for me Leo is a really good player, for me the best in the world. Every day I see his ambition, his winning character. For me, he’s not a player I have difficulties with. Every coach is different. For me, he’s the captain and I speak with him every week about things on the pitch, things in the dressing room, to have a good relationship with him. I am not in agreement with Setien but respect his opinion. If that’s what he says, that’s how it is for him.
Messi has played every minute for Barcelona so far in 2020-21 but hasn’t been at his usual prolific levels just yet. The Argentine has three goals from eight appearances but all have come from the penalty spot.
Barcelona Told To Look After Messi
It’s still not clear if Messi will decide to stay and finish his career or look to leave as a free agent next summer. Former team-mate Ivan Rakitic has told Muchodeporte that the Catalan giants need to take special care of their captain.
Players of that level are different from everyone else and the other players have to take care of them in a very special way because of their ability to make a difference. We do not know if in the future we will be lucky enough to see a footballer like Leo again.
Much may depend on how Barcelona fare this season under Koeman and the identity of their new president. Interim chief Carlos Tusquets has said the club hope to hold elections around Christmas time.