Spanish newspaper Marca was challenged by other outlets on Monday after reporting that Lionel Messi told Barcelona in the summer that he wouldn’t consider a new deal with the club until his current one expires in 2018.
Barcelona leaders have previously said that their priority is to tie the Argentina captain to a long-term deal and are hopeful of doing so before the end of this year.
However, Marca, citing unnamed sources, reported that the 29-year-old Messi does not wish to consider his future until the end of his current deal.
Marca says that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner communicated his wish to Barcelona just days after he and his father were handed a suspended 21-month sentence by a Spanish court after being found guilty of three counts of tax fraud.
However, Spanish daily Sport, citing unnamed sources within the club, later challenged Marca’s reporting, saying that the story was made up as revenge after Barcelona boycotted their awards ceremony last week.
Sport reported that Messi has no issue with the Catalan club and cited club sources as confirming that officials want to renew the contracts of all other key players before the end of they year so that in January they can offer Messi a long-term deal.
Later on Monday, Argentina daily Ole also challenged the Marca report, citing unnamed sources that said that Messi’s father, Jorge, is set to travel to Barcelona next month to discuss contract renewal for his son.
Messi, the club’s all-time leading scorer, celebrated his 500th goal for Barca in a 2-1 win at Sevilla on Nov. 6.
He most recently signed a contract extension with the Catalan giants in May 2014 and has a €250 million release clause.
Messi is on international duty with Argentina and endured a 3-0 defeat at Brazil on Thursday in the Albiceleste’s World Cup qualifying match. He is with his national team preparing for Tuesday’s home qualifier against Colombia in San Juan, Argentina.
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