Lionel Messi is reportedly planning to leave Barcelona when his contract expires in 2021, according to Manu Carreno of Cadena Ser (via Santi Gimenez of AS).
The superstar has apparently halted all talks with the club about renewing his contract after discussions appeared to initially be going well between his father and Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
Among the reported concerns from Messi, he believes “certain sections of the club always blame him for everything that goes wrong at the Camp Nou,” per Gimenez.
According to Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden of ESPN, Messi felt he was incorrectly blamed for the firing of Ernesto Valverde. After new manager Eric Abidal indicated some unnamed players weren’t happy with Valverde, Messi hit back with a message on Instagram.
“When things don’t go well on the pitch, the players are the first ones to recognise as much,” he wrote. “Those in the sporting department at the club should also take responsibility for their actions and decisions.”
Messi has put together an incredible career at Barcelona, winning the Ballon d’Or six times in his career. He scored his 700th career goal Tuesday in a draw against Atletico Madrid:
Even at 33 years old, he remains an elite player with 22 goals and 17 assists in La Liga this season, leading the league in each category.
His individual production hasn’t been enough to carry Barcelona, however, as the club sits four points behind Real Madrid for first place in the table.