Lionel Messi’s contract situation at Barcelona has left many around Camp Nou worried. The Argentine has reportedly stalled all contract talks with the club and although club president Josep Maria Bartomeu expressed confidence that Messi will sign an extension soon, former Barcelona president Joan Laporta had admitted that he fears the 33-year-old might actually leave the club due to the current board situation and the lack of signing quality players. Messi has a contract at the club until 2021 and is rumoured to be wanting to leave for elsewhere once his contract expires. Luis Saurez Refrains From Spilling Beans Over Lionel Messi’s Barcelona Exit, Says ‘If He Needs a Change, He Will Know’.

Rumours were earlier rife that Messi would put in a transfer request and leave for free – his current contract gives him the right to inform the club a month before the season ends and leave for free – but as soon as the date of that contract clause expired, new reports have emerged that the Argentine is considering leaving the club after the next season when is contract is up. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Brazilian Legends Ronaldinho and Ronaldo Nazario Settle the GOAT Debate.

Barcelona president Bartomeu, however, expressed no concerns and said that he has no doubt that the Argentine will extend his contract and also finish his career at Barcelona. But Laporta, who signed Ronaldinho and appointed Pep Guardiola as the club manager during his tenure, is not certain that the Argentine will stay. But hopes he does stay.

"I want him to stay in 2021 but I am scared that a bad decision of this board could result in an irreversible decision," Laporta was quoted by Goal as saying at an event at Sant Joan de Deu hospital. "It's not BarcaGate, it's BartoGate, I am worried about how the status of the club is being put at risk."

Laporta also warned Xavi Hernandez from returning to the club as manager as long as Bartomeu is the president. "If I was Xavi, I would never be back with this board," said Laporta, who is considering running for the club’s president again. "Every day I have more desire to take part in the election. Some concrete conditions are needed for me to feel comfortable to run right now rather than resist for a few more years."

Bartomeu too declared that Xavi will one-day certainly return to Barcelona and take over as the head coach of the club but the board will back Quique Setien to continue next season. Meanwhile, Barcelona are four points behind Real Madrid in the La Liga 2019-20 points table and are on verge of losing the league title after successive wins in the last two seasons.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 16, 2020 01:35 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website