Lionel Messi could make a sensational exit from Spanish giant, Barcelona and head to the MLS next summer, according to shocking reports in Spain.
The Barcelona captain, 32, has the option to terminate his current deal with the Spanish champions thanks to his transfer clause.
But Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo claims that Messi is ready to cut ties with Barca, despite reports that the club would want to offer him a ‘lifetime’ contract.
The Argentine superstar has previously been linked with David Beckham’s Inter Miami franchise, which are expected to start playing in the MLS in 2020.
Manchester United legend Beckham admitted back in March that it would be a dream to sign Messi or fellow five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
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“Everyone has their wish list, everyone does, but if you look at the way Leo and Cristiano are still playing, even at what you might think is the later stage of their careers, I don’t see it ending for them,” the 44-year-old ex-England captain said.
“They’re playing at such a high level that it’s hard to see them leaving the clubs they are at, but we will see.
“You never know what can happen in football.”
Messi, whose current deal expires in 2021, has missed the opening of Barcelona’s title defence as he continues to recover from a niggling calf problem.
And the Argentina captain was forced to watch his side secure only a 2-2 draw against Osasuna before the international break.
However, Brazilian legend Rivaldo believes that Barcelona’s disappointing start to the season will end once Messi returns to action.
He told Betfair: “Barcelona have only won one of their first three matches in La Liga but it’s still very early in the season and I don’t find reasons to be too concerned.
“We shouldn’t forget that Barcelona is playing without their star Lionel Messi, as well as Luis Suarez, so it’s normal to see the team experiencing more difficulties than usual.
“When Messi returns all the team will get a confidence boost and things should get back to normal.
“But that should not stop Ernesto Valverde from alerting his players to the current situation as it won’t be easy to win any match if the team don’t work hard.
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“Despite the poor results, I’m enjoying Valverde’s approach of using some young talented players from La Masia.
“This could help young players to develop their skills and experience to become useful soon.
“Of course, when the season reaches its decisive moments, the more experienced squad members, who are now playing fewer minutes, will come back in.
“Arturo Vidal, for example, isn’t playing much at the moment but he is going to be important in the bigger games in which his experience will be precious.”
Barcelona are eighth in La Liga and have won one match this season, along with picking up a draw and suffering one defeat.
The Spanish champions resume their campaign on Saturday when they host Valencia at the Camp Nou.