Lionel Messi’s relationship with Barcelona have reportedly gone beyond repair with reports also emerging that the Argentine has stopped talks of a contract extension with the club. And as the club makes an attempt into improving both its performance on the field, Barcelona have drawn three in their last four and are seven points behind Real Madrid, and relationship with its star player, Xavi Hernandez’s decision to extend his stay in Qatar couldn’t have come at a worse time. The former Barcelona and Spanish legend, on Sunday, signed a one-year contract extension with Al-Sadd. Lionel Messi Transfer News: Barcelona Captain Would Be Tempted to Join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, Says Rivaldo.
Xavi, who has recently stated that he and his staff were preparing and keeping themselves ready for the Barcelona job, signed a year-long contract extension that will keep him in the Qatari club for another season. The contract extension also put rumours, of an imminent move to the Blaugrana club, to rest. He was reportedly lined-up as the next man to take over the manager’s role at Barcelona after the sacking of Quique Setien at the end of the current season. Lionel Messi Withdraws Contract Renewal Negotiation Talks With Barcelona, Likely to Leave the Club: Reports.
Reports also state that Messi had asked the club to rope in Xavi as the head coach as his condition to extend his stay at Camp Nou. But with Xavi extending his contract at Al-Sadd, Barcelona have now dealt a huge blow with Messi also edging closer to departing the club if they fail to rope in Xavi as head coach ahead of the next season. Not Going to Speculate on Lionel Messi's Future, Says Barcelona Coach Quique Setien.
Earlier, Spanish news outlet Cadena Ser had reported that Messi and his representatives have halted contract talks with Barcelona. Messi, who turned 33 last month, was said to be unhappy with the way the club have been functioning in the last few years and was also discontented with lack of quality in the squad as well as the club’s excuse of making him the scapegoat for issues at the club.
Messi had reportedly asked the club to sign Xavi as Setien’s replacement as the head coach at the conclusion of the current season with reports also suggesting that the Barcelona star told the club he would reconsider his decision of halting contract talks only if they can sign his former teammate Xavi. That would, however, be out of reach after recent events with Xavi extending his stay with Al-Sadd.
“I am happy to continue with Al-Sadd, and the team's goal will always be to compete for all titles," Xavi was quoted as saying by AFP. "(My) complete focus in this current period is to fully equip the players for the upcoming domestic and Asian competitions."
Xavi, 40, was Barcelona’s first-choice as manager of the club after the sacking of Ernesto Valverde in January. But the former Spanish playmaker had then declined the offer citing lack of proper planning at the club.
Quique Setien was then appointed as the head coach but things seem to have gone further south in Camp Nou with Barcelona also set to lose the La Liga title, they are two-time defending champions of La Liga, to Real Madrid who lead the standings and are seven points clear with only five games remaining.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 06, 2020 12:29 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).