People close to Barcelona are starting to worry that Lionel Messi will follow Neymar out the door

  • Lionel Messi’s contract at FC Barcelona is due to expire in June, 2018. Unless he signs a new deal, he will be able to leave the club for free next summer.
  • A former Barcelona presidential candidate believes Messi’s case is “worse than Neymar” after the Brazilian left for £200 million this month.
  • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola fuelled speculation on Monday by telling the press someone might bid for Messi.

Lionel Messi, the fourth most valuable footballer in the world, is able to leave Barcelona for free next summer if he doesn’t sign a new contract.

Messi had agreed to a new four-year deal according to an official Barcelona statement from July. The club even expected the player to sign the contract one week later.

But one month has passed and Messi is yet to put pen to paper. The situation is so bad that Agustí Benedito, a former Barça presidential candidate, says “Messi’s case could be worse than Neymar’s.”

Barcelona was loathed to lose Neymar but let the player leave after PSG activated his €222 million (£200 million) buyout clause.

Speaking to Onda Cero and Radio Marca, Benedito said the situation is so perilous because Messi has so little time left to run on his existing deal. He said:

“They have been leaving the renewal of Messi, the most important player, until the end and with it still not signed, it’s a concern.

“Messi has always wanted a competitive team and the situation is a worry. [Barcelona president Josep Maria] Bartomeu said Messi had signed his renewal in June and that’s not the case.

“Bartomeu has not been able to conclude Messi’s renewal. If Messi hasn’t signed the renewal, it’s because he’s unsure.”

Unsurprisingly, Messi is not short of admirers and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is one of them. He worked Messi for three years at Barcelona and fuelled speculation about the player’s future on Monday by acknowledging a bid is possible.

Lionel Messi and Pep GuardiolaDavid Ramos / Getty ImagesPep Guardiola worked with Messi for a three-year period at Barcelona.

Addressing journalists after City’s 1-1 draw against Everton on Monday evening, Guardiola was asked if Messi’s buyout clause €300 million (£275 million) could be activated like Neymar’s was.

“Someone might if they have the money and want to spend it,” he said. “It might happen.”

Neymar hints at unrest

Even Neymar, who showed there is life after Barça with a virtuoso display in PSG’s 6-2 victory over Toulouse on Sunday, said his former team-mates were unhappy at the club.

“To see my former team-mates unhappy makes me sad,” he said, blaming the board. “For me, they shouldn’t be in charge of Barça. Barça deserve much better, and everyone knows this.”

The comments were made just two days before it was revealed that Barcelona is suing the player for €8.5 million (£7.8 million) over his world record move to PSG.

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