Barcelona are angry with Spanish newspaper Marca after they led Monday’s newspaper with a cover story claiming that Lionel Messi had rejected their latest contract offer, and believe the article was revenge for snubbing their awards ceremony last month.
With Messi’s contract due to expire in 2018, the news that he had rejected a contract extension was met with disbelief across Europe, and alerted the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to a possible summer move that had appeared to look out of the question.
According to Spanish newspaper Sport, there may be ulterior motives behind the story, at least that’s what Barcelona suspect. It’s claimed that talks with Messi remain ongoing and that the Spanish champions believe the revelations are revenge for not turning up to Marca’s awards ceremony on 25 October.
The Catalan club decided to snub the awards ceremony due to the president of the Liga de Futbol Profesional [LFP], Javier Tebas, being awarded a fair play achievement. Tebas criticised Barcelona players following the 3-2 victory at Valencia for their actions after items were thrown at them from the home fans, with Neymar appearing to be struck by a bottle that also saw Luis Suarez fall to the ground clutching his face.
Barcelona were deeply unhappy with Tebas’s comments and broke off their relationship with the league president, with their non-attendance at the awards gala a protest against him even though both Suarez and Messi were due to be honoured after winning the league’s top goalscorer and best players awards respectively.
Despite the threat that Messi could enter the final 12 months of his contract without negotiations reaching a conclusion, Barcelona remain relaxed over the situation and are confident that the Argentina international will not leave the club.
But the prospect of the 29-year-old reaching the end of the season will still lead to fears over his future regardless, given that Barcelona cannot afford to let him leave on a free transfer given Messi’s valuation as one of the most valuable players in world football.
It must also be said that the state of Spanish newspapers adds doubts to the story that Messi has snubbed Barcelona, given Marca’s strong ties to their arch-rivals Real Madrid. Sport, a Barcelona-based newspaper, often contradict reports that appear in Marca, and vice versa.Reuse content