Lionel Messi unwilling to renew Barcelona contract - report

Spanish radio station Cadena Ser reports Argentine star ready to leave in 2021

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has called off his contract negotiations and is ready to leave the club when his current deal expires in 2021, according to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

The report stated Messi and his father Jorge had started discussing the renewal of his deal with the club, signed in 2017, but that he no longer wishes to stay at Camp Nou.

Apparently, Messi is unhappy about media reports that seem to blame him for events at the club, including the sacking of manager Ernesto Valverde.

Of late, Messi has become more vocal in his criticism of the club. In January he hit out at sporting director Eric Abidal, who he said had implied the players led to Valverde being sacked.

In a February interview with Mundo Deportivo, Messi said the team was 'not good enough' to win this season's Champions League.

Then in April he criticised the board for stating players were not willing to accept a pay-cut to ease the financial burden on the team during the coronavirus pandemic.

Messi scored his 700th career goal on Tuesday against Atletico Madrid, but the milestone didn't count for much as Barca drew the game 2-2 which hurt their bid to retain the Spanish title.

Barcelona now trail Real Madrid by four points in the title race after Real beat Getafe 1-0 on Thursday.