Lionel Messi will begin talks with Barcelona over a new contract this month after a clause allowing him to leave for free this summer expired.
The club legend’s current deal runs until the end of next season but includes a clause that would have allowed him to depart for nothing this summer if he’d informed Barcelona of his intention before June.
That has not been done and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been pushing for talks to extend the Argentine’s deal past 2021 but they have been delayed for various reasons.
But negotiations between the two parties are now set to get under way, with preliminary talks potentially taking place as early as next week, according to Spanish radio station Cope.
The May 30 deadline in Messi’s contract passed without the superstar informing the club he wanted to leave, suggesting his desire is to stay with the Catalan club.
The report does however indicate that the Argentine wants a similar option of being able to rescind his contact at the end of the season inserted into his new deal.
The 32-year-old signed his last contract back in 2017 and there had been rumblings of discontent, sparking speculation that he could seek a move away.
But Messi has always spoken about his desire to finish his career at Barcelona, where he penned his first deal in 2005 and has had eight contract renewals since.
The forward is considered the club’s greatest ever player and has won 34 major trophies since during his 16 professional year-career, including 10 La Liga and four Champions League titles.
Details of the forward’s contract situation were revealed last year by El Pais and team-mate Gerard Pique appeared to confirmed that Messi could go when he said: ‘He has earned the right to be able to choose what he does with his future after everything he’s given the club.’