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Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona on free transfer in summer with exit clause in deal to allow Newell’s Old Boys return

NEWELL'S OLD BOYS are confident of poaching Lionel Messi if the Barcelona star decides to enact a shock exit clause in his contract.

Currently tied down to the LaLiga side until June 2021, the Argentine's future is an increasingly tense subject at the Camp Nou.

Plans to extend his deal have been hit by Barcelona's financial troubles, emphasised by the coronavirus pandemic, and Messi's expectations of the team.

And even though he is signed on for at least another 12 months, the striker can leave this summer if he so desires.

Argentine side Newell's, based in Messi's hometown of Rosario, hope to be first in the queue if he decides for a change.

Old Boys club president Cristian D'Amico told reporters: "Messi will come to Newell's if he decides to leave Barcelona."

The striker played for the side in the earliest days of his career, before a switch to Spain at the age of 13.

Therefore he has spoken of potentially seeing out his playing days back in Argentina - although D'Amico had to doubt whether that could happen sooner rather than later.

He added: "I have no contact with Messi, I do not want to disturb him."

Messi admitted last year that his much-vaunted return to Newell's may never happen, as it would involve relocating or leaving his family.

He told TyC Sports: "I have the dream of being able to play for Newell's in Argentina, but I don't know if it's really going to happen because I have a family that is ahead of my desire."

For now, the focus is winning LaLiga and the Champions League with Barcelona and he is intent on only staying with the club if it provides him with silverware.

Director of football Eric Abidal has admitted that sorting a contract extension for the Blaugrana talisman has been a tough ask.

He stated in February: “Leo said that Barcelona is everything for him, that he wants to stay here, from there, there will be conditions.

I need to see there’s a winning team because I want to keep winning things at this club."

Lionel Messi

"We are talking about the best player in the world and having a renewal with player of this kind is never easy.”

Talk of a lifetime contract offer is not thought to interest Messi, who reportedly prefers a rolling one-year deal.

However he insisted late last year that Barcelona remain the only club on his mind.

The 32-year-old told Sport: “I can’t confirm anything because there are confidentiality agreements in our contracts.

“What I can say is that I want to be at Barcelona as long as possible. I’ve said throughout my career that this is my home.

“But I also don’t want to have a long-term contract and only be here because of it. I want to be here because physically I’m fine, to play and be an important member of the squad.

“And, as I said before, I need to see there’s a winning team because I want to keep winning things at this club.

“For me, money or a clause don’t mean anything. Other things motivate me and the most important thing is having a winning team.”

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