FC Barcelona's Leo Messi during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal CF and FC Barcelona at La Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, eastern Spain, 05 July 2020. EPA/DOMENECH CASTELLO
FC Barcelona's Leo Messi during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal CF and FC Barcelona at La Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, eastern Spain, 05 July 2020. EPA/DOMENECH CASTELLO

The ongoing Leo Messi saga took another turn on Thursday with FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu reportedly willing to resign if the Argentinean will remain at the club.

Bartomeu made his offer two days after Messi officially told Barca that he wants to leave the club where he has spent his entire career since arriving as a 13-year-old.

The striker has grown frustrated at many aspects of the club linked to Bartomeu’s leadership, which has seen Barca’s power on the pitch decline to the extent that they ended the 2019-20 season without a title for the first time in 13 seasons.

He is also unhappy at the club’s decision to tell Luis Suarez he is no longer required, while allegations that the club paid a social media company to damage his image also caused major harm to the relationship.

Messi is unlikely to accept Bartomeu’s offer for two simple reasons: first of all, the player is aware of allegations that he wields too much power at the club and these allegations would gain strength if he was seen to have forced the president’s resignation.

If Bartomeu did step down, he would merely be replaced by another member of the current board of directors – most likely the vice-president, Jordi Cardoner, who would be interim president until new elections at the club in March.

Messi is due to report for a PCR test at the club on Sunday ahead of the start of pre-season training on Monday, when he will have his first session under new Barca coach Ronald Koeman.

Although the player’s camp has so far maintained silence over the issue, there is a chance Messi could speak or issue in the coming days to present his side of the case and further pressure the club into allowing him to leave.

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