This is because the La Liga outfit are currently guilty of operating significantly over the league wage cap, meaning they will have to shift a number of their current stars off the wage books before Messi can extend his stay at the Camp Nou.
As a result, Messi is simply biding his time on his summer holiday until he is allowed to come back, as La Liga ruling’s dictate he isn’t even allowed to train with his teammates until a deal has been signed.
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There is one loophole around that restriction, Messi would be allowed to train before signing if he takes out his own medical insurance, though Barcelona have already confirmed this step will not be taken.
In what is unwelcome news for football fans everywhere, the ruling could prevent a Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo showdown before the season gets underway.
Long-term Ballon d’Or rival Ronaldo, currently of Juventus, is set to make the trip to Barca with his teammates from Turin for a pre-season friendly at the Nou Camp.
Juventus are due to travel to Spain as both teams look to prepare for the start of their respective La Liga and Serie A seasons.
Messi’s £500,000-a-week contract recently expired, technically meaning he is a free agent and not on the books at the club for the first time in just over two decades.
The club captain is reportedly willing to take a ‘significant’ pay cut to stay at the cash-strapped club, believed to be around 50% of his former wage.
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The Argentine was scheduled to return to training yesterday, but with no update on the contract situation, he could miss the clash against Juve for the Joan Gamper Trophy on Sunday, barring a speedy turnaround.
Not only will fans tuning in from home be disappointed over Messi’s potential absence, but so will some in the crowd – the Camp Nou will host spectators for the first time since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, though the capacity will be restricted to 20%.
There are no fears that Messi may begin to look to play his club football elsewhere, with Barca president Joan Laporta recently explaining: “The player has always said he wants to stay on and we are making good progress with the negotiations.”
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