Lionel Messi rejects Barcelona new deal, likely headed to Manchester City - Reports

Barcelona will have another round of talks with Messi in January 2017.

Lionel Messi
Messi headed to Mancehster City? Reuters

Lionel Messi rejected a contract extension offer from Barcelona in July which has now doubts over his future with the La Liga giants.

The Argentina forward will wait till the end of the next season to make a decision on his contract. Notably, he had said no to the offer while he was with his family on a holiday in July, reports Spanish newspaper Marca.

The Barcelona superstar's decision came after a week he and his father Jorge Messi were slapped with a suspended 21-month prison sentence over tax evasion charges earlier this year. The father-son duo were asked to pay a fine, which came close to £3m.

The verdict came as a blow shortly after Argentina's Copa America disappointment, after which Messi called it quits from international football before making a U-turn on his decision two months later.

Despite, Barcelona immediately coming up with a campaign in support of Messi, it was reported that the 29-year-old was unhappy with the way Blaugrana handled the situation during the case. Notably, the Argentine was linked to Chelsea as Jorge had talks with the owner of the Premier League club, Roman Abramovich, in his private yacht.

Marca reveals that Messi even considered not completing his contract, which ends on June 30, 2018. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu then stepped in and asked his team's star player to reconsider his decision, after which they had held no further talks about the contract extension.

Barcelona have already finalised new deals for Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano and Bartomeu is expected to have another round of talks with Messi in January 2017 about the contract extension, which will eventually allow the player to retire from the club.

However, if Messi decides otherwise, it is reported that Manchester City are favourites to have the superstar footballer at Etihad. The Argentine's closeness with Pep Guardiola is among the main reasons for the speculated move.

Moreover, executive director of the Premier League club, Ferran Soriano, had said in October that they "would open the door for him [Messi] immediately" if he approaches the Citizens in the near future.