Barcelona president says Lionel Messi's father has already signed new deal on behalf of son

Josep Maria Bartomeu says that the official announcement should be done within a month.

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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has claimed that Lionel Messi's new deal has already been "agreed and signed" by his father - and the club will make the official announcement with the player soon.

The La Liga giants announced on 5 July that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner had agreed a new contract to commit his future to the Nou Camp club until 2021.

"FC Barcelona and Leo Messi have agreed on a contract renewal that will keep the Argentinian at the club until June 30th, 2021," the statement from the club read two months ago. "The deal will be signed in the coming weeks, when Messi returns to the team for pre-season training."

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However, the 30-year-old forward is yet to sign the deal following a hectic summer at Barcelona.

The Catalans lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain before starting the new campaign with a humiliating 5-1 defeat, on aggregate, to arch-enemies Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

It was said that Messi had asked the club to make an effort in the transfer window to fill the gap left by Neymar before putting pen to paper on the new deal. However, Barcelona failed to lure Phillipe Coutinho from Liverpool and instead only managed to sign 20-year-old Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund.

Messi's delay in signing the new deal has sparked speculation linking the player with a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City as he would be able to make a free-agent move next summer - should he decide against signing the new deal.

However, Bartomeu has now played down concerns from Barcelona fans, assuring them that the 'triple' contract is agreed and has already been signed by his father.

"It's all agreed and signed," Bartomeu said to Sport. "There are three contracts. One with the Messi Foundation, which is signed with the president of the Foundations and the player's brother. There's an image rights contract with Messi, which his father has signed, who is the administrator of his company, and the employment contract, which his father has signed, who has the power to do so."

The president claims that Barcelona have only been waiting to find the right time but the announcement should be official within a month.

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Asked what was holding the announcement back, Bartomeu replied: "That Leo returns [from international duty] and we have the official photograph and the protocol of the signature. The contract is signed, it's valid from the month of June, from June 30, the same day that he got married, curiously. It's been audited because it goes into the accounts for last season. The renewal is included in the accounts for the closing of this season. There are no problems. It's just the protocol of the signature. We're relaxed.

"We've had schedule problems. Now, he's back on 6 or 7 September, we play on 9 September. There are a lot of games. We will find the moment. Two months have gone by. He got married on 30 June , then when he came back he went to Japan, then there was the tour. Then he came back... ahhh... what happened? There was the Super Cup, then La Liga started, the trip to Monaco. We will find the moment.

Questioned whether the announcement will be made within a month, Bartomeu added : "I hope so."

Messi's new release clause set at €300m (£275.7m, $356.5m) has also sparked some critics after the club lost Neymar to PSG in a world-record €222m deal.

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Furthermore, Real Madrid have inserted much bigger clauses in the contracts of their stars with Cristiano Ronaldo buy-out clause being set at €1000m to ward off potential suitors.

Bartomeu, however, defended the club decision by pointing out that Barcelona don't want to keep players against their wishes.

"Barça will never make a player stay if he tells us he wants to leave, as happens in other clubs in Europe," he said.

"We have a different way of being to other clubs. We thing that the player here, to play and to perform. It doesn't matter if the clause is 500, 600, 1000 or 1500 million euros, we can put any clause that we want because if a player wants to leave, we will have to sit down and speak about how we will do it. That's what we missed with Neymar. If we'd done it that way, it would have been better for everyone."

Lionel Messi scored 54 goals for Barcelona last season.Getty

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