Lionel Messi could be set for a shock exit from Barcelona with reports claiming it is now “almost impossible” that he will sign a new deal.
Messi, 34, has been a free agent since July 1, but had been expected to commit his future to Barca.
A number of reports claimed that an announcement over a five-year deal were imminent as Messi looked set to stay at the club he joined as a 13-year-old.
'It would be one of the biggest disasters' – Are PSG in trouble?
However, Spanish newspaper Marca are now reporting that there has been a “radical turnaround” regarding the contract negotiations and Messi is “further than ever from renewing” with Barcelona.
It is claimed that a "cordial" meeting was held between the club and Messi’s representatives and they are now at a “point of no return that seems impossible to resolve”.
- Messi to leave Barcelona as free agent
- Spurs angered as Kane prolongs holiday - report
- Grealish arrival heralds Man City's descent into Galacticos
The shock news could mean that Messi leaves Barca as a free agent this summer.
It is reported that new club CEO Ferran Reverter has played a key role in the decision over Messi’s future with Catalan radio outfit RAC1 also reporting it.
Barcelona-based Sport say "negotiations are not broken but have suffered a significant slowdown".
Messi was set to take a large pay cut to stay at the club to help Barcelona stay under the salary cap imposed by La Liga.
But letting Messi, who is the club’s highest earner by a distance, leave would still free up an enormous amount of funding for cash-strapped Barca, who could also be set to receive a cash injection from La Liga's deal with private equity firm CVC.
While supporters would not be happy with the decision to let Messi depart, it would give the club more flexibility over their finances and future moves.
Our view – A monumental decision for Barca
If Barcelona are really swaying towards letting Messi depart in order to help balance the books then this will be a career-defining summer for the club.
The fanbase will not be happy, to put it mildly, and while it seems like a good financial decision, it will be a HUGE blow to Barcelona on the pitch. A squad that has already been weakened over the last few years with the loss of several key players will look almost mediocre without Messi in the line-up. What will head coach Ronald Koeman make of it?
And what will Messi do if he has to leave? Where could he go at this stage of the summer, with days to go before the start of the season?
Manchester City seemed the obvious option in the past, but with Jack Grealish on the way for £100m and Harry Kane potentially in their sights can they also afford Messi? Otherwise could it be PSG who make a move to reunite Messi with Neymar?
This unexpected twist could make for an intriguing end to the transfer window.
Mbappe suffers injury scare in PSG draw with Brugge, Poch says severity unclear
Inside Europe: PSG's to lose? Ronaldo to shine? Predicting this year's Champions League