Sun, 16 Aug 2020

MADRID, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has reportedly brought a halt to his contract renewal talks and is ready to leave the club when his current deal expires in 2021.

Messi is angry with Barcelona's front office about leaked media reports that appeared to make him seem responsible for events at the club, including the January sacking of coach Ernesto Valverde, and that he is frustrated about the squad's lack of quality, according to a report from Spanish radio network Cadena Ser.

Messi and his father had begun discussing renewing his last deal with the club, which was signed in 2017, but they no longer wish to advance the negotiation, the report said.

Messi, who turned 33 last month, has put together an incredible career at Barcelona, winning the Ballon d'Or six times. He scored his 700th career goal Tuesday in a 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid.

However, his individual contribution has not been enough to carry Barcelona, as the club sits second, four points behind rivals Real Madrid, with five games to play.

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

In a February interview with newspaper Mundo Deportivo, he declared the team were not good enough to win this season's Champions League. And in April, he criticized the board for implying players were not willing to accept a pay-cut to help ease the team's financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.

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