Lionel Messi Barcelona contract renewal ‘almost impossible’ after amazing U-turn

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Lionel Messi's Barcelona future is in significant doubt, with reports in Spain claiming he has never been further away from signing a new contract.

The Argentine has been a free agent since July 1 and had been expected to sign a new deal before the start of the La Liga season.

Reports last month suggested Messi was even prepared to take a 50 percent pay cut to see out his career with the Catalan giants.

That would have meant the striker's salary would have been slashed by £250,000-per-week under the terms of the new contract.

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But new revelations in Marca cast serious doubt over Messi's future at Barcelona, with the Spanish outlet claiming the two parties have never been further apart during negotiations than they are now.

They report that conversations were held on Thursday between Messi's representatives and Barcelona club chiefs.

It adds that while the meeting was 'cordial', Messi's future now appears more uncertain than ever.

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano added on Twitter: "Leo Messi. Barcelona were planning for official announcement before Gamper – all agreed since days, then today they had ‘new problems’ in the process to extend the contract

"#Messi Issues are confirmed – Barça and Messi will continue their talks to resolve the situation."

Barcelona are reportedly exploring how best to communicate news of the discussions with it looking increasingly likely that Messi will not be starring at the Nou Camp this season.

The news will come as a blow to Barcelona President Joan Laporta who on Monday told the club's official media channel that he and the club were still attempting to convince Messi to stay.

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He said: "We are in the process of getting Messi to stay. He wants to stay at Barca and we have to make sure that happens.

"We all want Messi in La Liga because he is a world-class player, the best in the world, and he clearly helps to promote the league.

"I know Leo wants to stay and appreciate that highly. Everything is very much on the right track."

Messi is back in Barcelona after being pictured on holiday with former team-mate Luis Suarez last weekend.

If the out-of-contract star does choose to leave the club with which he is so inextricably linked, there is nothing Barcelona will be able to do to stop him.

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