The father and the agent of Lionel Messi Jorge said on Wednesday it will be difficult for the Argentine playmaker to stay in Barcelona after he made public his intentions to leave the Spanish club.
After flying in a private jet, Jorge is expected to meet the president of the club Josep Maria Bartomeu later on Wednesday for discussing his son's future, the Spanish media confirmed.
Messi Most Probably Not Going to Stay at Barcelona
A club spokesman declined to comment. The six-time world player of the year insists he has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave on a free transfer - a claim disputed by Barcelona and La Liga, who say the Argentine can only leave if a rival club is willing to pay a 700 million euro ($830.20 million) buyout clause.
"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.
(With agency inputs)