Lionel Messi tipped to issue Barcelona chiefs with transfer ultimatum after Bayern defeat
Lionel Messi will tell Barcelona chiefs that he will leave the club this summer regardless of what happens with the club’s board, unless club president Josep Bartomeu leaves. That’s the opinion of ESPN pundit Julien Laurens, who believes Messi will be happy that speculation of his transfer request has leaked.
Messi has reportedly told Barcelona that he wants to leave this summer.
The Argentine is out of contract next summer, and therefore Barca chiefs are sweating over his future.
Friday night’s humiliating 8-2 defeat in the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich is believed to have been the final straw for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who was also tipped to leave earlier this year.
Quique Setien was sacked, but Messi’s grievances with the club go deeper than the coaching staff.
He was believed to be furious at their failure to sign Neymar last summer and subsequent signing of Antoine Griezmann.
The club is expected to undergo significant change in the coming weeks, with multiple directors expected to depart.
But Laurens believes that the only way Messi will change his mind about leaving is if Bartomeu departs.
Reports from Spain claim the club president is expected to either resign or call for an immediate presidential election, which will see his term ended.
Speaking to ESPN, Laurens said: “I’m not surprised that Messi would want [the news] out.
“He’s unhappy, and he’s been unhappy for most of the season.
“He’s in a big disagreement with the board, and those at the top of the club.
“It’s pretty clear to me that I don’t think Messi would leave if the board leaves.
“If the board stays, and Bartomeu decides to stay, even if Abidal and whoever he wants to get sacked, for Messi it’s Bartomeu out or he’s out.
“Barcelona can’t afford to lose Messi right now anyway, so I think Bartomeu will go.
“Whether he goes and then elections happen [in March as scheduled], or if he decides to move the elections forward from next summer to next month…
“I think the message from Messi is that he’ll leave unless Bartomeu leaves as well.”