Lionel Messi is officially a free agent after his Barcelona contract expired at midnight.
The 34-year-old is currently on international duty with Argentina at the Copa America and has spent the last year mulling over whether to pen a new contract.
He had a transfer request to leave Barca rejected last summer and it led to a rift with the club's president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Bartomeu has since been replaced by Joan Laporta.
Liga
Inside Europe: Who will win El Clasico? Has game lost lustre? Which youngsters could star?
9 HOURS AGO
Barcelona are reportedly confident a deal can be struck to retain the services of one of the world's highest paid players despite the La Liga club's own financial woes.
Laporta told El Transistor: "We want him to stay and Leo wants to stay, everything is on the right track, what's left to sort out is the issue of fair play and we are in the process of finding the best solution for both parties.
I'd like to be able to announce that he is staying but at the moment I cannot do that, because we are in the process of looking for the best solution for both parties.
Messi’s last deal was worth a reported £492 million over four seasons, but Barcelona’s gross debt has rocketed to around £857 million.
Barcelona have already cut their wage bill in half in the last year, so it is likely a new contract would have to be on reduced terms.
Argentina play Ecuador in their Copa America quarter-final on Saturday with Messi desperate to win his first major international trophy.
Champions League
‘Everything will be smoother’ - Pochettino admits Messi-Mbappe partnership saved PSG
20/10/2021 AT 08:25
Champions League
Poch at PSG still makes zero sense – The Warm-Up
20/10/2021 AT 07:11