LIONEL MESSI is set to QUIT Barcelona in 2021 when his contract ends, according to reports.
Spanish radio network Cadena Ser claim the Argentine has called off negotiations over renewing his current deal with the club and is ready to leave the Catalans next year.
Messi and his father, Jorge, had begun talks over renewing the playmaker’s current deal, which was signed back in 2017.
But they no longer wish to advance negotiations and ESPN report that the reasons behind the decision are down to a several off-field bust-ups.
Messi is said to be angry with Barca’s board about leaked media reports that appeared to make him seem responsible for events at the club.
This included the six-time Ballon d’Or winner being accused of playing a role in the January sacking of coach Ernesto Valverde.
The 33-year-old is also allegedly frustrated about the quality of Barcelona’s squad.
I don’t know what will happen but we hope not because he is in this league and we want the best in this league
Zinedine Zidane on Lionel Messi
Zinedine Zidane was asked about the rumours after Real Madrid moved four points clear of Messi’s two-time defending champions following Thursday’s 1-0 win over Getafe.
He said: “I don’t know what will happen but we hope not because he is in this league and we want the best in this league.”
Once considered a shy personality, Messi has become increasingly outspoken in his criticism of the club this year.
SunSport revealed back in January the forward’s angry reaction to Eric Abidal’s claim that some players downed tools under Valverde.
Barca’s sporting director alleged that a large section of the dressing room were under-performing towards the end of the Spaniard’s reign.
However, Messi hit back on Instagram to accuse the Frenchman of tarnishing the players’ reputations and demand that the former defender take responsibility for his own decisions.
He has since publicly disagreed with current boss Quique Setien’s suggestion that Barca could win the Champions League this season.
And Messi’s has also criticised the board for implying that players were not willing to take a coronavirus pay cut to support the club’s financial situation.
Messi has extended his contract eight times since 2005 and it is understood his last extension carried a clause which allows him to leave at the end of any season.
However, it is thought the Barcelona captain can only walk out of the LaLiga champions to join a team outside of Europe.
Messi has previously expressed interest in returning to Argentina with childhood club Newell’s Old Boys.