Lionel Messi will sign a new contract soon but is yet to put pen to paper on a fresh deal at the Camp Nou, claims Barcelona sporting director Albert Soler.
Soler faced the music at a press conference on Saturday following a summer of transfer turmoil at the Catalan club.
And a key talking point on the agenda was Messi’s contract, a subject which has been concerning fans, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s current deal to expire next year.
Premier League clubs like Manchester City could sign Messi to a pre-contract in January if he refuses to re-commit but Soler was adamant that the Argentine magician will remain at the Nou Camp and agree fresh terms.
‘Soon. When we say soon, it means soon, I want to send this message to those who may be worried.
‘Announcement comes after agreement is signed off by both parties. Only thing missing is this formal act.’
Messi has cut a frustrated figure in the early part of the the season, fueling speculation that he is unhappy with the club.
But if Soler is to be believed, the 30-year-old will put pen to paper in the near future. But we all know that is not true.
Barcelona is in the middle of a vote of no confidence against the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board.
Bartomeu is extremely unpopular with the Barcelona fans, he was booed at the introduction ceremony for record signing Ousmane Dembele.
For Messi to sign his new deal before the club’s leadership situation is resolved would be seen as an endorsement for Bartomeu, and that is something that Messi is not prepared to give him.
It has been a catastrophic summer transfer window for Barcelona, with the club frequently seeing to be operating with no plan or idea.
But unsurprisingly, Soler denied that the past few months have damaged Barcelona’s reputation.
‘Barca haven’t lost any of their international prestige because we still have our values of common sense and responsibility.
That said, he did admit that lessons would be learned from the turbulent transfer window.
‘Self-criticism must always be carried out. It’s easy to talk in hindsight, but of course everything can be done better,’ Soler concluded.