Lionel Messi in U-turn over Barcelona exit

Lionel Messi is now seriously considering staying at Barcelona following a meeting between the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and the Argentine’s father Jorge.

Messi stunned Barcelona last month by telling the club that he wants to leave this summer on a free transfer.

Barcelona, however, insist that the clause in Messi’s contract which would allow him to leave as a free agent has expired and are adamant that the 33-year-old’s €700 million (£624m) release clause will need to be activated in order for him to leave.

Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, travelled from Rosario to Barcelona on Wednesday to hold a first round of talks with Bartomeu.

And according to Deportes Cuatro, Messi has now backtracked and is exploring the possibility of staying with Barcelona for one more season.

Jorge Messi confirmed to Deportes Cuatro on Thursday that his first meeting with Barcelona’s president was ‘very good’ and replied ‘yes’ when asked if Messi could remain at Camp Nou for another year.

It’s understood that Messi is keen to leave on positive terms and wants the chance to say goodbye to Barcelona’s fans at the end of the season.

Messi’s current contract with Barcelona expires next summer, which would allow him to join Manchester City on a free transfer.

City have reportedly already made an approach to Messi’s camp but would be unwilling to pay a high transfer fee to reunite the Argentine with Pep Guardiola.

After arriving in Barcelona on Wednesday, Jorge Messi said that it was ‘difficult’ for his son to remain at Camp Nou.

Messi’s father has remained in Barcelona and is due to have further talks with Bartomeu on Thursday afternoon.

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