Lionel Messi’s father arrived in Spain early Wednesday and is expected to meet with Barcelona club officials to discuss his son’s future, reports AP.
Jorge Messi, who is also Lionel Messi’s agent, landed in Barcelona from Argentina. He is expected to meet with club president Josep Bartomeu and other team officials, but it's unclear when the meeting will take place.
“I don’t know anything,” Jorge Messi said briefly after being questioned at the airport.
Spanish television station Cuatro later reported that Jorge Messi said it would be “difficult” for his son to stay with Barcelona. He did not elaborate.
Lionel Messi last week told Barcelona he wanted to leave the club and invoked a contract clause that allowed him to depart for free at the end of the season. But Barcelona claimed the clause expired in June and said he must see out his current contract until June 2021, or leave by paying the buyout clause of 700 million euros ($837 million).
Barcelona has been saying it will not facilitate Messi's departure and will only negotiate a contract extension. The club has offered the Argentine a two-year extension that would keep him with Barcelona through the 2022-23 season.
In addition to meeting with Messi’s father, Barcelona said it also wanted to meet personally with the player to try to change his mind about leaving. The club said it has been doing everything to try to convince Messi to finish his career at the club where he started nearly 20 years ago.
Lionel Messi hasn’t met with club officials since announcing his decision to leave and hasn’t said anything publicly since Barcelona’s 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals on Aug. 14. The defeat that capped a difficult season for the club, its first without a title since 2007-08.
The 33-year-old Messi had been outspoken against club officials during the season and he hasn’t shown up at the club since the squad returned to training on Monday. He also skipped the required coronavirus tests the team underwent on Sunday.
Lionel Messi’s representatives claim he was allowed to invoke the clause to leave the club because this year the season was pushed back by the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona is scheduled to begin its season against Villarreal in the Spanish league at the end of the month.