The Argentine star could be considering a move away from the Camp Nou
Reports from Spain suggest that Lionel Messi is planning on seeing out his current contract at Barcelona before he makes a decision on his future.
The four time Ballon d'Or winner is arguably the world's best footballer, and would be a devastating loss to the Catalan club, who have gone through a period of unprecedented success since he burst onto the scene back in 2004.
According to a report in sports daily Marca, however, that frightening possibility for the azulgrana may be close to be coming a reality. Messi informed the club back in July that he wasn't planning on renewing his contract, and instead said he would see out the final 18 months left on his current deal.
With the deal finishing up on the 30th of June, 2018, there was understandably concern at Barcelona that the crown jewel of their incredible attacking trio was possibly considering his future away from the Camp Nou, and club president Josep María Bartomeu asked him to reconsider the move.
Bartomeu also pointed to the release clause in his contract, believed to be in the region of €250 million, and told him to take some time to think it all over. Apparently, there has been no contact between the two parties since then about any possible deal.
However, the report also notes that this past summer was a particularly difficult time for Messi both on and off the pitch: he had once again tasted a bitter and disappointing defeat in the final of the Copa America with Argentina, following on from their heartbreaking loss in the World Cup final the previous summer.
There was also the conclusion and verdict from the star's tax fraud case, which saw a sentence issued against both the player and his father, who were found guilty of not paying over €4 million in taxes between 2007 and 2009.
Messi recently retired from the Argentine national side, before returning to duty to try and help them qualify for the World Cup in 2018. However, things are not quite going to plan on that front, as they sit sixth in the group after suffering a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of their neighbours and rivals, Brazil.
However, Barcelona are believed to be hopeful that an agreement can be reached, in light of the player's u-turn on his retirement from the national team. Marca claim that Bartomeu will reach out to Jorge Messi in the new year, in an effort to tie him down to a new contract.
The club has already extended their deals with Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano, while contracts for Luis Suárez, Andrés Iniesta, Marc Ter Stegen and Ivan Rakitic are set to be announced shortly.