Lionel Messi's future at Barcelona looked no closer to being resolved after the first meeting between the player's father and club officials on Wednesday ended without an agreement, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The person said club president Josep Bartomeu met for more than 90 minutes with Jorge Messi to discuss the the Argentina star's request to leave the club, but that neither part made any concessions.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about the private meeting.
Lionel Messi last week told Barcelona he wanted to leave the club and invoked a contract clause that allowed him to depart for free at the end of the season. But Barcelona claimed the clause expired in June and said he must see out his contract until June 2021, unless the buyout clause of 700 million euros ($837 million) is paid.
Also in the meeting were Barcelona official Javier Bordas and Messi's brother, Rodrigo. A lawyer for the Messi family was also present. In what was described as a cordial meeting, all parts made their positions clear — Jorge Messi said the player wants to leave and Barcelona said it will not accept his transfer request.
No other meeting was immediately scheduled, and the next steps were unclear.
Barcelona has said it still hopes Lionel Messi could change his mind about leaving.
The player's representatives claim the clause allowing him to leave the club should still be valid because the season was pushed back by the coronavirus pandemic. Barcelona reiterated that they will hold the player to his contract.