Lionel Messi is furious with Barcelona after details of his crunch meeting with Ronald Koeman were made public.
The club’s iconic captain cut short his family holiday to meet with Quique Setien’s successor on Thursday and is said to have informed his new manager that he is giving serious consideration to leaving.
According to Argentinean outlet Clarin, Messi has been angered by the source of the leak, Catalan radio station RAC1, who have regularly backed under-fire president Josep Bartomeu and his crumbling regime.
The claims coincide with a report from ESPN which suggests the Barcelona board are far from united in their stance over Messi’s future, with at least one high-ranking figure believing that a shock sale would be best for all involved.
Koeman has already stated that he sees Messi as an integral part of his rebuilding project which is likely to start with several notable departures.
‘He’s still got a contract and is still a Barcelona player,’ said Koeman earlier this week. ‘At this point I need to speak to him because he is the captain.
We need to work with him and speak with various players. We need to make some decisions but in Messi’s case I hope he stays with us. ‘I don’t know if I have to convince Messi [to stay], whether it’s that or not.
He is the best player in the world and the best player in the world you want in your team, you don’t want him playing against you. ‘As a coach I would love to work with Messi because he wins matches.
If he’s at the ability and level he has always shown I’d be more than happy for him to stay.’
The 57-year-old is said to have already concluded that the time is up for club stalwarts Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez, a decision that is unlikely to curry favour with Messi.
Further talks between Messi and Koeman are scheduled to take place imminently and the members of the board who want the club’s record goalscorer to remain are said to be relaxed about the situation and believe the new manager can convince the 33-year-old to remain.
In any case, Messi still has one year remaining on his current contract which includes a €700m buyout clause and Bartomeu still hopes to be in a position to negotiate an extension until 2023 before his term as president concludes.