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Has Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract expired? What next for the Argentina star?

11:55 BST 30/06/2021
Lionel Messi Barcelona 2020-21
The Blaugrana star is fast approaching the end of his current deal at Camp Nou, but will he be leaving or staying put?

Has Lionel Messi's latest Barcelona contract now expired? Goal is on hand to give you all the details and outline what could be next for the Argentine star as a free agent.

Speculation over Messi's future has been rife ever since his decision to hand in a transfer request at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, with it suggested that his career-long affiliation with Barca could soon come to an end.

The 34-year-old ultimately performed a U-turn to see out the final season of his current deal, but has not yet signed a renewal at Camp Nou. Could Messi really leave Catalunya this summer? 

Here's everything you need to know about the intriguing saga.

When does Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract expire?

Messi has now reached his June 30, 2021 contract expiry date, meaning he will be a free agent and able to join another club for nothing.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner became the best-paid player in La Liga history when he signed a fresh four-year agreement with Barca worth €555 million (£491m/$674m), but it has been reported that the club can no longer match his salary demands amid a worrying financial crisis.

Will Lionel Messi sign a new Barcelona contract?

Goal has learned that talks between Messi and Camp Nou officials over an extension were still ongoing last week , with a breakthrough in negotiations yet to be reached.

Barca had not submitted an official contract offer at that stage, but it has since been reported that the Argentina international has agreed to remain at the club until 2023 and an announcement has only been delayed due to final details on certain contract clauses.

Blaugrana president Joan Laporta has voiced his optimism over keeping hold of Messi on several occasions, most recently stating that new signing Sergio Aguero has been doing his part to convince his fellow countryman to sign on the dotted line.

"Aguero is helping. He is telling him every day to stay," Laporta said earlier this month. "He [Messi] is excited and I am grateful to him for the desire he is showing to stay."

Could Lionel Messi leave Barcelona & which clubs could he join?

Should Barca fail to conclude a deal with Messi, he will be able to leave the club on a free transfer, and will not be short on potential suitors .

Manchester City, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain were the three clubs most strongly linked with the playmaker last summer, and it has been reported that they are still keeping a close eye on his situation.

Real Madrid, Manchester United and boyhood club Newell's Old Boys have also been credited with an interest in Messi, but City has been touted as his most likely destination due to the possibility of a reunion with former Blaugrana boss Pep Guardiola.

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