Messi calls off contract renewal negotiations and is ready to leave Barca in 2021, according to report

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VIDEO SHOWS: FILE FOOTAGE OF LIONEL MESSI TRAINING WITH BARCELONA AND POSING FOR PHOTOS. FILE FOOTAGE OF CAMP NOU STADIUM EXTERIOR AND FC BARCELONA SIGNAGE

SHOWS:

NAPLES, ITALY (FILE - FEBRUARY 24, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. BARCELONA CAPTAIN, LIONEL MESSI, WALKING ON TO PITCH AT STADIO SAN PAOLO

2. MESSI TRAINING

TURIN, ITALY (FILE - NOVEMBER 21, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

3. MESSI AT TRAINING SESSION

HOSPITALET DE LLOBREGAT NEAR BARCELONA, SPAIN (FILE - DECEMBER 11, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

4. MESSI POSING FOR PHOTOS WITH TWO CHILDREN AND BALLON D'OR TROPHY AT THE LAUNCH OF HIS NEW BOOTS

5. CLOSEUP OF MESSI POSING FOR PHOTOS

BARCELONA, SPAIN (FILE - FEBRUARY 29, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

6. BARCELONA PLAYERS LIONEL MESSI AND ARTURO VIDAL WALKING ONTO TRAINING PITCH

BARCELONA, SPAIN (FILE - JUNE 18, 2020) (BARCA TV - ACCESS ALL)

7. MESSI AND GERARD PIQUE CHATTING ON TRAINING PITCH

BARCELONA, SPAIN (FILE - MARCH 10, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

8. SIGN ON EXTERIOR OF BARCELONA'S CAMP NOU STADIUM

BARCELONA, SPAIN (FILE - APRIL 22, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

9. FC BARCELONA AND CATALONIA FLAGS WAVING

BARCELONA, SPAIN (FILE - DECEMBER 17, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

10. FC BARCELONA BADGE AND NAME

BARCELONA, SPAIN (FILE - MARCH 10, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

11. FC BARCELONA BADGE ON WALL

STORY: Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has called off negotiations over renewing his contract with the club and is ready to leave the Catalans when his current deal expires in 2021, according to a report by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Thursday (July 2).

The report said Messi and his father Jorge had begun discussing renewing his last deal with the club, which was signed in 2017, but that he no longer wishes to stay at the Camp Nou.

The report added that Messi is angry about leaked media reports that appeared to make him seem responsible for events at the club, such as the January sacking of coach Ernesto Valverde, and that he is frustrated about the squad's lack of quality.

The Argentine's representatives and Barcelona did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Messi, who turned 33 last month, scored his 700th career goal on Tuesday (June 30) against Atletico Madrid, but the milestone strike ended in disappointment as Barca drew the game 2-2 in the latest blow to their bid to retain the Spanish title.

Barca trail Real Madrid by four points in the title race with five games remaining after Real beat Getafe 1-0 on Thursday.

Previously known for his shy personality off the pitch, Messi has become more vocal in his criticism of the club in the last year.

In January he hit out at sporting director Eric Abidal, who he said had implied players had led to Valverde being sacked.

In a February interview with newspaper Mundo Deportivo, he declared the team were not good enough to win this season's Champions League.

Then in April he criticised the board for implying players were not willing to accept a pay-cut to help the team's financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.

(Production: David Grip)

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