Buzz over Messi Barca exit in ’21

FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has called off negotiations over renewing his contract with the club and is ready to leave the Catalans when his current deal expires in 2021, according to a report by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Friday.

The report said Messi and his father Jorge had begun discussing renewing his last deal with the club, signed in 2017, but that he no longer wishes to stay at the Camp Nou.

The report added that Messi is angry about leaked media reports that appeared to make him seem responsible for events at the club, such as the January sacking of coach Ernesto Valverde, and that he is frustrated about the squad’s lack of quality.

The Argentine’s representatives and Barcelona did not immediately respond to requests for a comment.

Messi, who turned 33 last month, scored his 700th career goal on Tuesday against Atletico Madrid, but the milestone strike ended in disappointment as Barca drew the game 2-2 in the latest blow to their bid to retain the Spanish title.

Barca trail Real Madrid by four points with five games remaining after Madrid beat Getafe 1-0 on Thursday.

Previously known for his shy personality off the pitch, Messi has become more vocal in his criticism of the club in the last year. In January, he hit out at sporting director Eric Abidal, who, he said, had implied players had led to Valverde being sacked.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said his side used their team spirit to finally break down and beat a resolute Getafe side.

The league leaders created scant chances against their gritty neighbours but finally got the goal they craved when Sergio Ramos converted a late penalty, sending Real four points clear with five games left.

“We can be very happy, we did an incredible job against a side who caused us loads of problems, but we got the victory because of our team spirit,” Zidane said after his side won their sixth game in a row.