Messi’s exit imminent?

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has called off negotiations over renewing his contract with the club and is ready to leave the Catalans when his current deal expires in 2021, according to a report by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Friday.

The report said Messi and his father had begun discussing renewing his last deal with the club but that he no longer wishes to stay at the Camp Nou. The report added that Messi is angry about leaked reports that appeared to make him responsible for events at the club, such as the sacking of coach Ernesto Valverde, and that he is frustrated about the squad’s lack of quality.

Messi, who turned 33 last month, scored his 700th career goal on Tuesday against Atletico Madrid, but the strike ended in disappointment as Barca drew 2-2 in the latest blow to their bid to retain the Spanish title. Barca trail Real Madrid by four points in the title race with five games remaining after Real beat Getafe 1-0 on Thursday.

Previously known for his shy personality off the pitch, Messi has become more vocal in his criticism of the club in the last year.

In January he hit out at sporting director Eric Abidal, who he said had implied players had led to Valverde being sacked.

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