Bartomeu pleads with Messi’s father: Messi to stay

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Lionel Messi is close to admitting defeat in his battle to leave Barcelona for Manchester City, according to TyC Sports in Argentina.

Barcelona asked Messi’s father Jorge to help persuade his son to reconsider his attempt to force his way out of the club, in a 90-minute meeting on Wednesday night.

With neither side appearing willing to back down the stalemate looked set to continue but message has been relayed to the Barcelona captain and he is understood to be considering his options on Thursday.

Several media in Argentina, who first reported that Messi had sent a Burofax to Barcelona requesting a free-transfer, even suggested he was now ’90 per cent likely to stay’.

Messi would carry on until June 2021 – effectively admitting defeat in the battle to prove his deadline for informing the club he wanted to leave should have been moved back because the pandemic delayed the end of the season.

The latest development came after Jorge Messi arrived in Barcelona from Argentina on Wednesday morning and began the day saying it would be ‘difficult’ for his son to stay at Barcelona. He was asked by Cuatro Deportes in Spain: ‘How do you see it?’.

When he replied ‘difficult’ he was asked: ‘difficult for him to stay?’ and he replied: ‘yes’.

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Asked if Manchester City was a ‘good option’, he replied: ‘I don’t know. There is still nothing’.

When it was put to him that Guardiola had told him it would be best if Messi stayed at Barcelona he said: ‘I have not spoken to Pep. I have not spoken to anyone.’

Finally asked: ‘How do you see [Messi’s] future at Barcelona?’ He repeated: ‘Difficult, difficult.’

But Barcelona held firm in the subsequent meeting. Before the sit-down Bartomeu briefed reporters that the club would report both Messi and Manchester City if he moved to the Etihad without the payment of his £630m release clause.

The fact that the Barcelona president turned up to the meeting without lawyers has also been seen as a clear indication of the club feeling they are on more solid ground than Messi.

Barcelona are not training on Thursday so Messi has a day to think on changing his current position ahead of training on Friday.

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