Lionel Messi appears to make Barcelona U-turn after Liverpool admission

Before the start of the season Lionel Messi was in the middle of an increasingly bitter fight with Barcelona over his future.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner had decided that his time in Spain had come to an end and that he wanted to leave the club he'd represented since the age of 12.

Messi's problems at Barcelona stemmed back to their shock defeat by Liverpool in the 2019 Champions League semi-final.

He saw the defeat as the catalyst to a number of problems at the club in which Barcelona began throwing away victories in both La Liga and in Europe.

Speaking in July 2020, Messi said: "I said a while ago that if we carry on like this it will be very hard for us to win the Champions League.

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"We couldn't even win La Liga. If we don't react, we won't beat Napoli.

"I'm sure the fans are running out of patience because, playing like we have done, and after the Roma and Liverpool [where they lost big leads], we're not giving them anything."

"We were not expecting this. We didn't want to end La Liga playing like this, but it kind of reflects how this whole year has gone."

Messi also found himself at odds with former Barcelona boss Quique Setien's tactics, and even reportedly spoke to the manager about his concerns.

Messi is alleged to have urged Setien to listen to the more experienced players in the dressing room, as he was not alone in feeling the Spaniard's tactics weren't up to scratch.

Setien is said to have responded to Messi: "If you don't like what I said, you know where the door is," generating a laugh from the Argentine.

Setien was eventually sacked by Barcelona, following a poor season in which they were thumped 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and lost La Liga to Real Madrid.

Barcelona, meanwhile, announced that Messi had sent the club a document expressing his desire to leave in August.

The Catalan giants had no intention of losing their prized asset and made it clear to any interested club that Messi has an active £600million buyout clause in his contract.

Messi's father and agent Jorge released a statement in which he claimed the release clause "is not valid when the termination of the contract is by the player's unilateral decision from the end of the 2019–20 season".

La Liga rejected this claim, and issued a statement of their own saying the clause is active.

Messi had the option to take Barcelona to court but decided he would stay at the club for the remainder of his contract, which expires at the end of this season.

He said: "I wasn't happy and I wanted to leave. I have not been allowed this in any way and I will stay at the club so as not to get into a legal dispute. The management of the club led by [Josep] Bartomeuis a disaster. My love for Barca will never change."

One positive for Messi was that Bartomeu and the Barcelona board resigned from their posts following a vote of no confidence.

It was widely believed that Messi would walk away from Barcelona on a free at the end of the season, but it appears the Argentine may have now U-turned on his decision.

Under Ronald Koeman, Barcelona, and more importantly, Messi, have found a spark again.

And Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta is now adamant Messi wants to remain at the club beyond this season.

"Messi is now totally focused on catching Atletico Madrid in La Liga and playing the Paris Saint-Germain tie in the Champions League," Laporta said.

"I do not know if he will be playing on Sunday [in the Supercopa de Espana final] but he will be on the bench and it is important that Leo encourage his team-mates.

"I see him more and more happy, he is enjoying it.

"I know that he wants to stay and I know that he will do everything in his power to stay as long as the club can offer him an offer that suits him."

Messi has vowed not to discuss his plans while the season is still active and will decide on his future once and for all at the end of this campaign.

Will Lionel Messi leave Barcelona at the end of the season? Have your say here.

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