Jorge Messi has arrived in Barcelona for a meeting with Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu that looks set to be one of the most important in the club’s history.
Do they get to keep club legend Lionel Messi for maybe three more years, enjoying all the landmark matches that would come in his final seasons? Or do they lose him in an undignified jumble of missed training sessions, leaked conversations, disputed contract clauses, and with the 8-2 defeat to Bayern his last ever game? And is there even an ugly court case thrown in at the end for good measure?
Before Barcelona president Bartomeu meets with Jorge Messi, believed to be yesterday, he will need to find unity in the boardroom.
There are directors who believe the club’s financial situation makes trying to get the best price for Messi, as well as getting his €100m (£89m) salary off the wage bill, the only sane way forward.
Others think the club should dig in until the bitter end even if that means a legal fight to the finish over the contractual small-print.
Messi’s father Jorge landed in Barcelona yesterday in the morning and the face-to-face meeting has been penciled in for the same day, although neither side has yet confirmed exactly when it will take place.
Bartomeu has briefed that when the meeting does happen, he will use it only to urge the Messi camp to sign a contract extension extending his time at the club for two more years.
As things stand, Messi will insist he has already rescinded his contract by burofax, and make it clear he would rather contest Barcelona’s refusal to let him leave in court, all the time while not playing football, than he would put pen to paper and shake on a new deal with Bartomeu.
The Barcelona president has a better relationship with Messi senior than he does with Messi junior but it would take a charm offensive of Ballon d’Or proportions to get Jorge to even consider taking a new-deal offer back to his son.